In recently released footage, a chilling incident unfolds as a woman from Alabama cautiously pulls over her vehicle on the highway upon spotting a toddler walking alone, only to witness the child’s disappearance.
Carlethia ‘Carlee’ Nichole Russell, a 25-year-old woman, is captured on camera as she guides her red Mercedes onto the shoulder lane of the interstate 459 highway in Hoover, Alabama, with her hazard lights activated.
Following this unsettling encounter, Russell mysteriously goes missing for a duration of two days, sparking a frantic search operation. However, on Saturday night, she is discovered alive when she is reportedly “dropped off” at her residence.
While making her fateful stop on the night she vanished, Russell happened to be engaged in a phone conversation with her brother’s girlfriend. The nursing student informed Russell that she intended to exit her vehicle and assess the well-being of the child.
However, a piercing scream abruptly interrupted the conversation, severing all contact between Russell and her brother’s girlfriend.
The video recording captures Russell’s car gradually shifting into the right lane. Subsequently, the footage transitions into a scene illuminated by flashing blue police lights, depicting the location where her abandoned vehicle was discovered.
Upon the arrival of law enforcement officials at the scene, they discovered Russell’s car along with her cell phone, purse, wig, and Apple Watch in the vicinity. However, both Russell and the child she reported seeing were nowhere to be found.
Utilizing the available footage, the police are now employing it as a tool to investigate and analyze the events following Russell’s departure from her vehicle on Thursday.
Nick Derzis, the Chief of Hoover police, stated, “We have reviewed the footage. Although the quality is not optimal, it confirms the presence of Carlee’s car, and we can affirm that she was not there when the officers arrived after receiving the 911 call.”
On Saturday night, officials in Hoover, Alabama received a phone call informing them that Russell had reappeared at her residence after knocking on the door.
Police Chief Nicholas Derzis told the New York Times he’s not sure how she got there, but nobody was with Russell on her arrival.
After police and fire officials confirmed it was Russell and evaluated her at the scene, she was taken to a local hospital.
No further information about her condition has been made public other than one person familiar with the situation said she’d been ‘dropped off’ at home, according to WBRC.
Hoover Police Department said in a statement: ‘Missing person Carlee Russell has been located.
‘At 10:45 P.M., the Hoover 911 center received a call that Carlee returned home to her residence. Police responded to the scene to investigate this latest development in the case.
‘Hoover Fire medics responded to the scene to assess Carlee and transported her to a local hospital for evaluation.
‘Additional information will be provided when it becomes available.’
Hoover Police had not received any other calls of a missing child. One witness reported possibly seeing a gray vehicle and a man standing outside of Carlee’s vehicle, but police said they had no additional information.
‘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,’ her mother, Talitha Russell (left), said
‘In the process at some point she got out of the car and my daughter-in-law could hear her asking the child if they were okay,’ her mother, Talitha Russell, said. ‘The child did not respond, or at least she did not hear her respond, he or she 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.’
Russel left work around 8:20 PM on Thursday before stopping to pick up food for her and her mom.
She then travelled toward Hoover and called 911 at about 9:30 PM to report the missing child wandering on the side of Interstate 459.
After calling 911, Russell reportedly called her brother’s girlfriend to tell her she was going to check up on the child. The family member lost contact with her at about 9:36 pm but the line remained open.
Responding officers located Russell’s abandoned car along with her cell phone, her purse, wig and apple watch in the nearby area, but no sign of her or a child.
Lt. Daniel Lowe said said one witness reported possibly seeing a gray vehicle and a man standing outside of Carlee’s vehicle, but they have no additional information.
Russell was described as a 5-foot-4, 150 pound black female and was last seen wearing a black shirt, black pants and white Nike sneakers.
Lowe said police are pursing all possibilities in the disappearance.
‘We’re certainly leaving nothing off the table,’ he said when asked if investigators believe she was abducted.
‘No piece of information is too small in this investigation,’ Lowe said in a presser Friday.
Hoover Police provide update on missing Alabama woman
The Hoover Police Department said they are partnering with many local, state and federal partners in the investigation and are ‘grateful for the outpouring of support from the local and law enforcement community’
Talitha Russell said the last time she spoke with her daughter was around 9:18 p.m. Thursday when she left Taziki’s after picking up food and was headed home
Family members also organized a search in the area.
‘We’re just gonna scour the earth,’ Russell’s dad, Carlos Russell, told WVTM. ‘There’s no stopping us.’
An anonymous donor offered a $20,000 reward for Russell’s safe return and another $5,000 reward is available through Crime Stoppers.
The Hoover Police Department said they were partnering with many local, state and federal partners in the investigation and are ‘grateful for the outpouring of support from the local and law enforcement community.’
Talitha Russell said the last time she spoke with her daughter was around 9:18 p.m. Thursday when she left Taziki’s after picking up food and was headed home.
‘We are trusting God, we are staying positive, we are not allowing any negative thoughts to enter our minds so all that we are doing is trusting God, believe in God that our daughter will be brought home safely,’ Talitha Russell said to WSAZ.
Carlee’s wig was left at the scene of her disappearance. Her mother posted a photo of what her daughter looks like in braids without her wig
Russell’s parents are begging anyone with information to come forward
Search parties gather to look for missing Alabama woman
‘She’s known to be helpful and she has a big heart,’ Talitha Russell said of her daughter.
‘And she does know not to stop for anyone … I think she kind of let her guard down thinking they were so close. And when she got out the car, she did tell my daughter-in-law, ‘I can’t just leave this little child on the side of the road.’
Russell works part time at The Woodhouse Day Spa and attends Jefferson State Community College, according to AL, where she is studying to become a registered nurse.
She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from AUM, according to the outlet.