Hoover Police update on disappearance of Carlee Russell
Hoover Police held a news conference to update their investigation into the Carlee Russell case. Among the new details, they released the audio of the 911 phone call made by Russell the night of her disappearance when she reported seeing a small child on the side of the road and proceeded to pull over.
Russell was missing when police responded to the scene shortly after the call. Investigators said Carlee’s 911 phone call is the only report of a toddler on Interstate 459, despite the steady flow of traffic.
“No one has called to report that a child is missing and the Hoover Police Department did not locate any evidence of a small child walking down the interstate. Data from Russell’s phone, including her Life 360 app, shows that she traveled approximately 600 yards in her vehicle while she was on the phone with 911,” said Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis.
Derzis said in the 49 hours Russell was missing, Hoover Police deployed all available agents in the search.
Two days later, video surveillance footage showed Russell arriving home on foot. Investigators said she was conscious and breathing and rushed to UAB Hospital for medical treatment shortly after making a statement to the police.
“She stated when she got out of her vehicle to check on the child, a man came out of the trees and mumbled he was checking on the baby. She claimed that the man then picked her up and then she screamed. She stated he then made her go over the fence. She claimed he then forced her into a car and the next thing she remembers is being in the trailer of a 18-wheeler,” said Derzis.
Investigators said Russell claimed to have been abducted by a white male with orange hair. They said she then escaped from a separate vehicle in the West Hoover area.
Out of of respect for Russell and her family, Derzis said the officers did not press for additional information at the time, but continued their own investigation of internet searches from Russell’s phone that was left behind at the scene.
“On July 11 at 7:30 A.M. the term ‘Do you have to pay for an AMBER Alert’ was searched,” said Derzis.
Investigators also said Russell looked up the film “Taken,” related to abduction and two other AMBER Alert terms from her work computer.
“As you can see, there are many questions that need to be answered. But only Carlee can provide those answers,” Derzis said.
During Wednesday’s news conference, Derzis was asked about Russell’s mental health, but he declined to comment.