Investigators in Alabama have found “no evidence” that Carlee Russell was trying to help a young boy who was walking down a road at the time of her mysterious disappearance, it has been revealed.
Nursing student, Ms. Russell, 25, disappeared without trace off the side of Interstate 459 in Hoover on the night of July 13, just moments after calling 911 saying she had seen a young child alone on the road.
When officers arrived on scene, they found Ms. Russell’s car still running and her cell phone and wig nearby, but no sign of the 25-year-old.
A large search operation was launched to try to locate the missing woman, with her family pleading with the public to come forward with any information.
Then two days later, on the night of July 15, Hoover police received a 911 call saying that Ms. Russell had suddenly returned home on foot.
In the days that followed, few details emerged about what happened to the 25-year-old and where she was located during the roughly 49 hours she was missing, as her family insisted she had been the victim of a kidnapping.
But now, Hoover police have cast doubt on one of the key aspects of the case: saying there is no evidence that there was ever a child walking down the road that night.
Authorities also released other new details about the case, including that Ms. Russell visited a Target store to buy snacks just before she went missing and that they obtained surveillance footage of her returning home.
The night she went missing, Hoover police said the 25-year-old left her workplace and ordered food from nearby The Colonnade restaurant.
After stopping by The Colonnade, he went to Target on Highway 280 and bought some snacks, police said.
These items were not found inside her abandoned vehicle along the highway nor were they found with her cell phone and wig at the scene of her disappearance.
Police said the investigation turned up no evidence of a young child walking on the interstate and did not receive any additional calls about a child wandering, even though surveillance footage captured many other vehicles passing through the area at the time.
New details have also been released about the time when Ms Russell suddenly returned to the home she shares with her parents.
Hoover police said surveillance footage, which has not been released publicly, shows her walking alone on the sidewalk toward the home. It is unclear what the footage shows or how it is relevant to the investigation.
Radio traffic from the fire department previously revealed that medics were sent to the home on a 911 call by an individual who was “unresponsive but breathing.”
Hoover police have now said that the term “unresponsive but breathing” came from the 911 caller and that when emergency services responded to the scene, they found Ms Russell “conscious and speaking”.
She was taken to the hospital for treatment and was later released.
Hoover police said Tuesday they have so far spoken to Ms. Russell only “briefly” on her return home and that, three days later, they are still waiting “for a more detailed statement to be available” about what she happened. to her in the 49 hours that she was missing.
Extensive evidence is being evaluated as part of the investigation, police said, adding that “those elements are key in the process of determining exactly what happened in the approximately 49 hours that Carlee was missing, but also what happened prior to her disappearance.”
A police press conference has been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon to provide a more detailed update on the mysterious case.
This latest update has offered more questions than answers about what happened to Ms Russell in the 49 hours between her disappearance and her revival.
Her parents have said their daughter was “absolutely” abducted and had to “fight for her life” during that two-day period.
“There were times when he had to physically fight for his life, and there were times when he had to mentally fight for his life,” said his mother, Talitha Russell. The Daily Beast.
“She has to deal with the trauma of people making completely false accusations about her.
“Carlee has given her statement to detectives so they can continue to pursue her kidnapper.”
She added of her comeback: “We tried to hug each other as best we could, but I had to back off because she wasn’t in a good shape. So we had to step back and let the medical professionals work with her.”
Ms Russell’s boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons, gave a similar account of what happened to Ms Russell in a Facebook post.
“She was literally fighting for her life for 48 hours so until she is physically and mentally stable again, she cannot give any updates or the whereabouts of her abductor at this very moment,” he wrote.