What Happened to Carlee Russell

The Hoover Police Department held a press conference on Wednesday to share the details of their investigation into the Carlee Russell case. 

In addition to the information provided in the statement released on Tuesday (July 18), the investigation revealed very shocking details in the case. 

I have outlined a few of those details below. 

Carlee Took Concealed Items From Her Job

On July 13 at approximately 8:20 p.m., Carlee left work. 

Surveillance video from her place of employment shows Carlee concealed a dark-colored bathrobe, a roll of toilet paper, and other items prior to her departure. 

She Picked Up Snacks From Target

After ordering and picking up her food from The Colonnade, Carlee went to Target on Highway 280 and purchased granola bars and Cheez-Its. 

She remained in the Target parking lot until 9:21 p.m. before driving to I-459.

The Alleged Toddler Walking Along The Highway

Carlee talked on the phone until she called 911 at 9:34 p.m.

During her call to 911, Carlee Russell told the dispatcher that the child walking along the highway was a White little boy about 3 or 4 years old. 

She said the child was wearing only a white t-shirt and a diaper. 

Hoover PD says data from Carlee Russell’s phone, including her Life360 app, shows that she traveled approximately 600 yards (equal to 6 football fields) while she was on the phone with 911 stating that she was following a toddler. 

Carlee Russell Vanished

When officers arrived about 5 minutes after being dispatched, they located Carlee’s wig and cell phone in the grass near the vehicle.

Her purse was in her vehicle with her Apple Watch inside of it. The food she picked up from The Colonnade was still in the car.

But, the items she took from work and the snacks she purchased from Target were gone. 

Carlee Returns Home

After vanishing for over 49 hours, Carlee returned to her parent’s home on foot on Saturday night around 10:45 p.m. 

Detectives obtained surveillance video from Carlee’s neighborhood which showed her walking down the sidewalk alone prior to her arrival at her residence. 

Fire Department radio traffic obtained by several media outlets shows that medics were dispatched to her residence on an “unresponsive but breathing person.” 

When first responders arrived on the scene, they found Ms. Russell conscious and speaking and she was transported in that condition. She was later treated and released from a local hospital. 

What Happened To Carlee Russell?

Carlee Russell told detectives while traveling she saw a small child and called 911. 

She said when she got out of her vehicle to check on the child, a man came out of the trees and mumbled that he was checking on the baby. 

Carlee said the man picked her up and she screamed. 

She says the man made her go over a fence, her forced her into a car, and the next thing she remembers is being in the trailer of an 18-wheeler. 

Carlee Russell said the male was accompanied by a female, but she didn’t see her she only heard her voice. 

She also told detectives she could hear a baby crying. 

Carlee described her abductor as a “male with orange hair and a big bald spot on the back.”

She said she was able to escape the 18-wheeler and fled on foot only to be captured again and then was put into a car. 

Carlee Russell says she was then blindfolded but was not tied up because her captors didn’t want to leave impressions on her wrists. 

She said they took her into a house and made her get undressed. 

Carlee believes that they took photos of her, but does not recall them having any physical or sexual contact with her. 

Carlee said the next day she woke up and was fed cheese crackers by the female. 

She said the woman also played with her hair. But, she could not remember anything else. 

Carlee says at some point, she was put back into a vehicle and she was able to escape in the West Hoover area. 

She said she ran through lots of woods until she came out near her residence. 

Carlee Russell had a small injury to her lip and she said her head was hurting. 

She also had a tear on her shirt. 

Carlee also had $107 cash in her right sock.  

Out of respect, detectives didn’t press Carlee for more details and said they would get another statement from her at a later time. 

Carlee Russell’s Cell Phone Data Reveals Internet Searches

The Hoover Police Department enlisted the help of the United States Secret Service to conduct the analysis. 

Part of the data recovered included several internet searches in the days leading up to Carlee’s disappearance. 

Records show, Carlee made the following internet searches:

  • July 11, at 7:30 a.m. – “Do you have to pay for an Amber Alert?”
  • July 13, at 1:03 a.m. – “How to take money from a register without being caught?” 
  • July 13, at 2:13 a.m. – “Birmingham bus station”
  • July 13, at 2:35 a.m. – “One way bus ticket from Birmingham to Nashville with July 13 departure”
  • July 13, at 12:10 p.m. – “The movie Taken

Carlee Russell used the computer at her place of employment to search, “maximum age for an Amber Alert.”

Other searches in connection to Carlee’s mental state were discovered but not released out of respect for her family. 

Watch the Hoover Police Department’s full press conference below. 

Carlee Russell’s family has not granted the Hoover Police Department’s requests for further questioning.

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