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Carlee Russell searched for Amber Alerts and the movie ‘Taken’ before disappearing, say police

Hoover police describe discrepancies in Russell’s kidnapping case

Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 20 July 2023 06:25 BST
File photo of Carlee Russell
File photo of Carlee Russell (Hoover Police Department)

Carlee Russell searched for Amber Alerts and the movie Taken just days before disappearing on 13 July, said police officials.

Ms Russell, a 25-year-old nursing student, vanished without a trace from the side of Interstate 459 in Hoover on the night of 13 July – just moments after she called 911 saying she had spotted a toddler alone on the road.

She turned up on foot at her parents’ home in Hoover 49 hours later and claimed she had been kidnapped and barely survived. Since then, Alabama authorities disclosed a series of internet searches and said they were unable to verify Ms Russell’s allegations as she has since refused to be interviewed.

On 11 July, Ms Russell used her cell phone to search for information on whether payment is required for an Amber Alert, police said during a press conference on Wednesday.

Two days later, on 13 July, Ms Russell conducted two searches related to Amber Alerts using her work computer. One of the searches was about the maximum age for an Amber Alert.

Additionally, she searched for details about the movie Taken, which revolves around an abduction of a teenager, “how to take money from a register without being caught” and information about Birmingham bus tickets.

Giving more details about the reported “kidnapping”, the police disclosed that upon leaving work on 13 July, Ms Russell “concealed” a dark-coloured bathrobe and a roll of toilet paper.

In the Wednesday press conference, the police provided details about events preceding Ms Russell’s disappearance, which included playing the complete 911 call.

Investigators in Alabama, however, have found “no evidence” that Ms Russell was trying to help a toddler walking along a highway at the time of her mysterious disappearance.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found Ms Russell’s car still running and her cell phone and wig close by, but no sign of the 25-year-old.

A huge search operation was launched to try to track down the missing woman, with her family begging the public to come forward with any information.

Then, two days later on the night of 15 July, Hoover police received a 911 call saying that Ms Russell had suddenly returned home on foot.

Now, Hoover police have cast doubts on one of the key aspects of the case – saying there is no evidence that there ever was a toddler walking along the highway that night.

Additionally, authorities unveiled further information regarding the case, stating Ms Russell had visited a Target store to purchase snacks shortly before her disappearance.

They also confirmed they possessed surveillance footage capturing the moment she returned home.

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