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The boyfriend of Carlee Russell, the 25-year-old nursing student who claims that she was kidnapped while checking on a toddler on the side of the road in Alabama, is urging the public to stop “bullying” her online as doubts grow over her story.
Speaking to the New York Post, Thomar Latrell Simmons said that he knows how the situation looks as law enforcement has cast doubt on her story and people have accused her of lying.
“The only thing I can say is, I want everyone to stop bullying her,” he said. “I know what it seems like what she did. Just stop bullying on social media.”
“Think about her mental health,” he added. “She doesn’t deserve that. She doesn’t. Nobody deserves to be cyberbullied.”
The Hoover Police Department revealed late last week that Russell conducted searches online about Amber alerts and the film “Taken,” which is about an abduction, in the hours leading up to her alleged kidnapping. She was missing for roughly 48 hours before she returned home.
Authorities said Russell took a “dark bathrobe,” a roll of toilet paper, and other items from her place of work hours before she vanished. She also stopped at a Target store to purchase some granola bars and other snacks after picking up takeout food. Hoover PD revealed that when they arrived on scene following Russell’s 911 call, the items from work and Target were missing, though her takeout food was still in the vehicle.
The department also emphasized that Russell drove 600 yards on the interstate while allegedly following the toddler she spotted on the side of the road. The department has no evidence that there was a child, and expressed disbelief that a toddler could move so quickly on the side of the interstate without incident.
“To think that a toddler, barefoot, [who] can be 3 or 4 years old, is gonna travel six football fields is –without getting in the roadway, without crying – it’s just very hard for me to understand,” authorities said at the presser.
Russell has claimed she was taken by a man with orange hair and a bald spot after she left her vehicle to check on the toddler. She says she was then forced into a vehicle and eventually taken into a home with the man, along with a woman, whom Russell never got a look at. She then claims she was told to undress and believes the man and woman took photos of her.
The Post noted that one detail of the story that has caused quite the stir in Birmingham was what police found at the scene where Russell was allegedly abducted — her wig.
The publication spoke with several hair stylists and wig experts in the area, all of whom were black and who had doubts about her story because of the wig.
The experts said that the wig that was found was “expensive” and would have taken roughly 15 minutes to remove from a scalp since it is glued on.
“That was when the majority of Birmingham was like, ‘She’s lying’,” said hair stylist Kyra Joyner. “That’s when it was split down the middle where there was those that believed her and those that thought she was lying. It was the wig.”
“First of all, your wig is going to be secure,” she said. “Second, if somebody’s taking you, they’re going to try to cause the least attention they can.”
Amanda Prestigiacomo contributed to this report.