BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On July 13, Carlee Russell called police to report she had allegedly seen a toddler walking along the interstate in Hoover. Telling her to stay where she was, officers responded to the scene, finding her car, but not her.
For two days, the 25-year-old woman was missing, causing a widespread search for her. By July 15, she had safely walked back home. In the days since her reappearance, police have continued to investigate what happened to her.
Here is a timeline of Russell’s disappearance, her return home and what has happened since:
- Carlee Russell called police at approximately 9:30 p.m., telling them she had allegedly seen a toddler walking along I-459 near Exit 10 in Hoover. Russell, who had reportedly just gotten off work at Woodhouse Spa Birmingham earlier that night, called a family member as well to tell them she was going to see what it was, according to police. When police arrived at Russell’s presumed location, she was nowhere to be found, her car and belongings parked along the interstate.
- The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency issues a missing persons advisory for Russell. A $25,000 reward is also offered in connection with information on Russell’s whereabouts.
- Police report that Carlee Russell had been located safely and had returned home at approximately 10:45 p.m. She was then taken to UAB Hospital for evaluation.
- Police release a timeline of what led up to Russell’s disappearance. In addition, police reported that outside of Russell’s report, no other calls about a toddler walking along the interstate had been made that night.
- Russell’s parents, Talitha and Carlos Russell, appear on the “Today” show to talk about her disappearance, her return, and how they believe she was abducted. They did not disclose what had happened to her in the two days she was missing. Management at Woodhouse Spa Birmingham, Russell’s employer, also release a statement as well as addressed rumors about what happened to her. That evening, Hoover Police release an updated timeline regarding Russell’s disappearance and her eventual return.
- Hoover Police held a 2:30 p.m. news conference regarding the investigation into Russell’s disappearance.
- Hoover Police held a second news conference regarding the investigation into Russell’s disappearance. Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis read a statement from Emory Anthony, Russell’s attorney, claiming that the 25-year-old woman was not abducted as she and her family had previously reported, as well as not seen a child walking along I-459 the night she disappeared.
- Hoover Police held a third press conference about the investigation unto Russell’s disappearance. Derzis announced Russell has been charged with filing a false police report and filing a false statement to law enforcement authorities. These charges are Class A misdemeanors under Alabama law. Russell turned herself into the Hoover City Jail on these charges July 28 and was released on bond.