Hashtags #SayHerName and #ShareHerFace has been floating around social media since Carlethia “Carlee” Nicole Russell went missing July 13th, 2023 after calling the cops and reporting a toddler wandering the highway. We are please to share the hashtag #SheHasBeenFound!
This is an ongoing investigation. Ripped from the headlines below are details from Hoover, Alabama Police given to WBRC.
HOOVER, Ala. (WBRC) – A 25-year-old woman in Alabama who was reported missing Thursday night after calling 911 to say she saw a toddler walking along the side of I-459 was found late Saturday night, according to Hoover Police.
The woman, Carlee Russell, showed up at her family’s front door Saturday night, said Nicholas Derzis, Hoover Police Chief. Derzis said he was not sure how Russell got there. “She walked up, banged on the door, and that was her.”
Russel’s return ended a 48-hour search that grabbed national attention. The circumstances of her sudden disappearance are still unclear as of Sunday morning. The mystery led to hundreds of videos and social media posts from people sharing what they think happened. “We work with facts,” Chief Derzis said. “With social media, you got so many people that think they know what’s taken place. Right now, we’re just very pleased that she’s home.”
The case started Thursday night when Russell called 911 to say she saw a child on the side of the interstate in Hoover. That call was made around 9:35 p.m. Hoover Police said Russell called a family member next and shared the same information. She then pulled over on I-459 South near mile marker 10 to check on the toddler, according to police.
“At some point, she got out of the car and my daughter-in-law could hear her asking the child if they were OK,” said Talitha Russell, Carlee Russell’s mother. “The child did not respond, or at least she did not hear her respond. And then she heard our daughter Carlee scream and from there on all we could hear was noise…background noise in her phone which we later found out was noise from the interstate.”
In a traffic camera video obtained by WBRC, you see the spot on the interstate where Russell disappeared. The video shows the driver-side door open of a vehicle that is presumed to belong to Carlee Russell. Her mother said her daughter’s wig was found near the car, along with her phone. The engine was still running when police arrived at the scene.
Dozens of volunteers, along with local and federal law enforcement searched for Russell during the 48 hours she was missing.
Chief Derzis said Hoover investigators will eventually sit down with Russell to learn what happened. “The first thing is to give Carlee and family a little time to get themselves back together,” he added. “I know it’s been a tough experience for them. When we think it’s time to sit down and have a conversation with Carlee and try to get some facts, we’ll do that.”
Most of all, Chief Derzis is happy that Russell is safe. “Just know that the police department is very happy,” he said. “We wanted her to come home safe and sound – and we’ll hope that’s what happened here. The investigation portion… we’ll get to, but to me the main deal is making sure that she got home safe with her family. And I couldn’t be more excited, and I hope the community feels the same way.”
This is an ongoing story that will be updated as we receive new information.
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