The Hoover Police Department held a press conference on Wednesday where they announced they could not verify initial statements made by Carlee Russell, the Alabama woman who disappeared last week after claiming she saw a toddler walking alone on the interstate.
Russell told investigators that she was driving Thursday to her home in Hoover from her job in Birmingham and placed a call to 911 to report the alleged lone toddler. Hoover Police Chief Nicholas C. shared that Russell traveled 600 yards while she was following the child on the phone with 911.
“Six football fields, to think a toddler could travel six football fields, without getting in the road, without crying, it’s very hard to understand,” Derzis said.
After the emergency services call, Russell called a family member who lost contact with her after allegedly hearing her scream. Russell was missing for 49 hours before returning to her family home on foot.
“She claimed he then forced her into a car and the next thing she remembers is being in the trailer of an 18-wheeler,” said Derzis at the news conference. “She stated the male was with a female. However, she never saw the female, only hearing her voice. She claimed she was blindfolded but was not tied up because the captors said they did not want to leave impressions on her wrists. She said that they took her into a house and made her get undressed. She believes they took pictures of her but does not remember them having any physical or sexual contact,” he added.
He added that before she vanished, she made Google searches which have raised suspicion. Those searches included: “Do you have to pay for an Amber Alert,” “How to take money from a register without being caught,” “Birmingham bus station,” “Taken (movie about abduction),” and “maximum age for an Amber Alert.”
“What we can say is 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 a threat to the public safety related to this particular case,” he later stated.
The investigation is still ongoing.