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Police on Tuesday night shared new details in the case of 25-year-old nursing student Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell, who went missing for more than 48 hours in Hoover, Alabama, before showing up at her parents’ home on Saturday night.
Russell vanished Thursday night after allegedly checking on a toddler in a diaper on the interstate. The 25-year-old called 911 to report the child, then called a family member and relayed the same message. According to the family member, Russell was heard screaming after asking someone, presumably the child, if they were okay. Police arrived within minutes, but Russell was nowhere to be found, though her belongings were in her vehicle. She showed up on foot at her parents’ home, but little has been revealed about her time missing.
The Hoover Police Department confirmed in a press release that Russell stopped at a Target store to buy “some snack food type items” before she went missing. Authorities said those items “were not located in the vehicle or with her cell phone and wig at the scene of her disappearance.”
The department also revealed that it has “not located any evidence of a toddler walking down the interstate.” Authorities added that they have not received any additional calls about the toddler “despite numerous vehicles passing through that area as depicted by a traffic camera surveillance video.”
It was also revealed that Russell was found by first responders “conscious and speaking and was transported [to the hospital] in that condition,” despite the initial dispatch describing the woman as “unresponsive but breathing.”
Russell’s statement to police upon her return home has yet to be released to the public.
— Mattie Davis WVTM 13 (@MattieWVTM13) July 19, 2023
Hoover Police added in its press release that this is the only information they can reveal at this time. “We understand that there are numerous rumors and misinformation making the rounds in both social media and traditional media,” the release said. “While we understand the public interest in this incident, we must maintain the integrity of the case, thus we are limited in what information we can release or confirm at this time.”
Russell’s parents, in an interview with NBC on Tuesday morning, said their daughter was “abducted” and claimed Russell was fighting for her life both physically and mentally while she was missing.
“She’s having to deal with the trauma of people just making completely false allegations about her,” Russell’s mother, Talitha Robinson-Russell, responded to speculation and doubts about her daughter’s disappearance.
“She found her way back to us,” Robinson-Russell said. “However, we can’t discuss the details of that.”