Four unanswered questions in the mysterious case of Carlee Russell

Four unanswered questions in the mysterious case of Carlee Russell

Law enforcement in Hoover, Alabama left the public with more questions than answers after a press conference on Wednesday in which they revealed Carlee Russell’s disappearance and kidnapping may have been fabricated.

Hoover police chief Nick Derzis told reporters that authorities were “unable to verify” most of the statements that Ms Russell gave police about her whereabouts during the 49 hours she was missing.

Ms Russell initially disappeared on 13 July after pulling her vehicle over on Interstate 459 after claiming she saw a toddler walking alone.

She called 911 to report the child and told authorities she was pulling her vehicle over to make sure the child was safe. After that, she went missing for two days.

Authorities conducted a massive search for Ms Russell which ended on 15 July when Ms Russell arrived back home, on foot.

Ms Russell told police and her family she was kidnapped but in a bombshell press conference, police expressed doubt over her story saying there was limited evidence to prove this.

“What we can say is that we’ve been unable to verify most of Carlee’s initial statements made to investigators, and we have no reason to believe that there is no threat to public safety,” Mr Derzis said.

Why did Carlee Russell tell police there was a toddler?

Minutes before her supposed disappearance, Ms Russell told a 911 operator she pulled over her vehicle and turned on her hazard lights to assist a small toddler who was walking alone along the interstate.

She said the child was barefoot but wearing a diaper and t-shirt.

After that, she said she was kidnapped, insinuating that the toddler was used as bait.

However, police said there is no evidence that a child was walking alone alongside the interstate. Despite many drivers using the road, nobody else called police about a toddler, no traffic cameras picked up on a child and no missing children had been reported.

They also debunked Ms Russell’s claims that she pulled over to make sure the child was safe. Location tracking information from her cellphone showed that during the 911 call, she travelled 600 yards, about six football-field lengths.

Where did Carlee Russell go in the two days she was missing?

Ms Russell told police that a man with “orange hair” emerged from the trees, picked her up and forced her into another vehicle where she was kidnapped for 49 hours.

In a horrific tale, Ms Russell recounted being transported to another truck and then to a house where she was stripped naked and photographed.

However, police were unable to verify Ms Russell was kidnapped at all. As of now, authorities don’t know where Ms Russell went in the two days she was missing.

Carlee Russell’s family says she was abducted after stopping to help a toddler, but police are yet to confirm key details in their story

(Hoover Police Department)

What was Carlee Russell’s intention in disappearing?

It is unclear why Ms Russell wanted to disappear but Mr Derzis pointed to Ms Russell’s actions beforehand to give some insight into her mental state.

Using tracking information, internet search history and surveillance camera footage, investigators saw Ms Russell leave her workplace carrying items that she allegedly was not supposed to have.

This included a roll of toilet paper and a bathrobe.

She then stopped by Target to get snacks and a local restaurant to get dinner before driving down the interstate.

But more than that, Ms Russell’s internet search history points to some interesting information.

Mr Derzis said Ms Russell searched things like “Do you have to pay for Amber Alert or search” and how old someone has to be for an Amber Alert to be issued in the days and hours leading up to her disappearance.

She also searched “How to take money from a register without being caught.”

Other searches included: one-way bus tickets out of Birmingham and the movie Taken which is about a young woman’s abduction.

Why did Carlee Russell return home?

Ms Russell returned home, on foot, on 15 July.

Surveillance footage obtained from the neighbourhood shows Ms Russell walking up to her family’s home, alone.

“As you can see there are many questions left to be answered, but only Carlee can provide those answers,” Mr Derzis said.

Mr Derzis said police have asked to interview Ms Russell again but their request has so far been denied.

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