Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

911 call reveals Carlee Russell was ‘unresponsive but breathing’ when she returned home

Police in Hoover, Alabama, say they are trying to piece together Carlee Russell’s movements after she vanished from the side of an interstate

Bevan Hurley
Tuesday 18 July 2023 15:17 BST
Update on search for Carlee Russell

An Alabama woman who disappeared after claiming she had stopped to check on a toddler wandering in diapers on an interstate was “unresponsive but breathing” when she returned home 48 hours later, according to audio from a 911 call.

Nursing student Carlee Russell, 25, vanished from Interstate 459 just after 9.30pm on Thursday 13 July, sparking a massive search operation as authorities and family held grave fears for her safety.

The Hoover Police Department said they received a 911 call from the home Ms Russell shares with her parents at 10.44pm on Saturday to say she had returned home on foot.

Ms Russell was “unresponsive but breathing”, according to police dispatch audio obtained by Mail Online.

Emergency services responded and took Ms Russell to UAB Hospital for treatment before she was released.

Detectives conducted a preliminary interview with Ms Russell at the hospital, but no further details have been released by authorities about where she was.

Her boyfriend Thomar Latrell Simmons has claimed she was kidnapped and had been “fighting for her life” for 48 hours.

A 911 call revealed Carlee Russell was ‘unresponsive but breathing’ when she returned to her home in Hoover, Alabama (Hoover Police Department)

The Hoover Police Department has said it is working to retrace Ms Russell’s steps from the moment she had contacted 911 to report seeing the toddler.

Ms Russell left work at The Woodhouse Spa in the Summit luxury shopping mall in Birmingham at about 8.20pm on 13 July before stopping to pick up food for her and her mother from the nearby Colonnade mall, according to authorities.

The Jefferson State nursing student was on the phone with a friend when she said she spotted a young boy aged three or four walking alone on the side of Interstate 459 South.

She stopped her car and called 911, and then called her boyfriend’s sister who reported hearing a scream before Ms Russell went silent.

When police arrived about five minutes later, they found the engine of Ms Russell’s red Mercedes still running and her wig, cell phone, purse and Apple Watch left behind.

Frantic appeals for sightings and assistance in finding Ms Russell were made by authorities and family, including a $25,000 reward.

There were no confirmed sightings of Ms Russell until she showed up on foot at her home in Hoover more than 48 hours later.

Thomar Latrell Simmons claimed his girlfriend Carlee Russell had been kidnapped and barely survived (Facebook / Thomar Latrell Simmons)

“She was literally fighting for her life for 48 hours, so until she’s physically & mentally stable again she is not able to give any updates or whereabouts on her kidnapper at this very moment,” her boyfriend wrote on Facebook.

Hoover Police Chief Nicholas Derzis told WBRC that the department was relieved she had been found safe, and would give her space to recover.

“I know it’s been a tough experience for them. When we think it’s time to sit down and have a conversation with Carlee and try to get some facts, we’ll do that,” Mr Derzis said.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in