An Alabama woman who went missing on Thursday, July 13, after calling 911 to report a toddler walking along a highway has been found, the New York Times reports. Carlee Russell, 25, returned home late on Saturday, knocking on the front door of her family’s house, much to their shock.
Hoover Police Department chief Nicholas Derzis said he was unsure how Russell got back, but she was believed to have arrived on foot and was alone. She was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and later released.
The circumstances surrounding Russell’s disappearance are still unclear. After hanging up with 911, she then called her brother’s girlfriend to tell her what was going on. At one point, the girlfriend is said to have “lost contact” with Carlee Russell but said she could hear a scream.
When police arrived on the scene, they found no signs of a child in the area, nor of Russell. A statewide search was launched immediately using drones and manual search methods to find her.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Russell’s family asked “for privacy at this time to allow us to just love on our daughter and each other with our close family and friends.” They added that they “have not slept for 3 nights and we are mentally and physically exhausted.” However, they said they would make a more detailed statement in due time.
In the meantime, Carlee Russell’s boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons, claimed in a Facebook post that she had been kidnapped and was “fighting for her life for 48 hours” after she went missing.
He went on to say that Russell is not “physically or mentally stable” at the moment. He added that because of the trauma she’d experienced, she was “not able to give any updates or whereabouts on her kidnapper at this very moment.”
I’m sure we’ll find out more about this case as time goes on, but what’s most important is that Carlee is home safe.