‘She may have just been through the most traumatic experience of her life,’ a Hoover, Alabama, police source tells The Messenger.
According to a source from the Hoover Police Department, detectives who are looking into the perplexing case of Carlethia “Carlee” Russell’s disappearance and subsequent reappearance are aware that there are inconsistencies in her account.
Despite this, the police are handling the investigation with caution and are willing to give Russell the benefit of the doubt, regardless of the findings.
“It’s under investigation and right now we don’t know anything for sure,” says the source, who is not working directly on the investigation. “There are things that don’t add up, but that happens a lot in stressful situations. It’s our job to add it up. This is under investigation, and it’ll take some time.”
Carlethia “Carlee” Russell, aged 25, went missing last Thursday after contacting 911 to report a toddler, dressed only in a diaper, near the highway in Hoover, Alabama. She abruptly ended the call with the emergency dispatcher and reached out to a family member, during which her distress was evident through her screams.
While the police discovered her vehicle and some personal items, they were unable to determine the whereabouts of the nursing student. Unfortunately, no sign of the toddler was found either.
However, after an extensive search that garnered significant media attention, Russell returned home on foot two days later. A press release from the police department states that she was subsequently taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
Now, authorities are faced with the task of unraveling the events surrounding Russell’s 48-hour disappearance, but they are relieved that she was found alive.
“Really, everyone is just glad that she’s safe,” says the police source, who is not authorized to speak with the media. “As far as I know, there’s no big push to play ‘gotcha’ and nail her to the wall.”
Carlee’s Family Says She Was Kidnapped
In an interview with NBC’s Today show, Russell’s parents said they believe she had to “fight for her life” and that her “abductor” is still at large.
Talitha Russell said that when her daughter returned home, “She was not in a good state, so I had to stand back and let medical professionals work with her.”
However the Russell family has declined to comment on the circumstances of Carlee’s return.
While police have not corroborated the family’s assertions, authorities say that they are investigating all leads and hoping to help Russell as things move forward.
“She may have just been through the most traumatic experience of her life,” says the police source. “So let’s be sensitive to that as the investigation goes on, and give her the benefit of the doubt to make sure that she’s okay.”
The Child Was Never Found
Alabama authorities say the small boy that Carlee said she saw unattended, prompting her 911 call, has not been found or identified. Alabama police also said that no families reported a small child missing during that time, either. But Carlee had called 911 and a family member to tell them about the boy, which she said had caused her to stop along the interstate.
Dan Abrams: Why don’t we know what happened to her?
Dan Abrams says he’s thrilled Carlee Russell has returned home safe, but questions whether the public is owed more information about what happened.
The moment Carlee Russell’s car pulled over and she disappeared
Carlee Russell told the dispatcher that she was near mile marker 11 on I-459 when she saw a toddler walking alone on the side of I-459 between the flyover to the Galleria and Highway 150.
Former FBI Special Agent explains inconsistencies
Former FBI Special Agent Stuart Kaplan says there are inconsistencies in her story.
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