Russell returned home on foot Saturday evening after missing for two days. Police said Russell vanished Thursday evening after stopping to check on a toddler she allegedly saw on the side of the road.
According to the Hoover Police Department (HPD), upon her return, Carlee was immediately taken to UAB hospital for evaluation upon her return.
She has since been released, but police said they are unsure of her exact condition.
Carlee’s mother took to Facebook Sunday requesting privacy for their family at this time, while expressing gratitude that Carlee is home. She said, “God is faithful and has answered our prayers … Our baby is safe.”
HPD Police Chief Nick Derzis said Russell’s safe return is the best possible resolution they could hope for, but the investigation does not stop here. There are still questions that need answers.
“We deal in facts, not innuendos or conclusions that we make,” said Derzis. “We deal with facts. All of those facts will come out. So, right now we know that she was there and then she wasn’t. Now she’s home, which is what we wanted, and all of those things in between we’re looking at.”
Derzis could not confirm whether or not Russell was abducted.
This case has gripped the nation. Derzis said they could not be more grateful for all who stepped up to the plate, combining efforts to help find Russell.
Search efforts were underway around the clock in the 48 hours Russell was missing.
Hoover police said they give thanks for all of the assistance provided by their law enforcement partners, in addition to all the tips and help from this community and beyond, even from other states.
Derzis said it takes a lot of resources and everyone really came together.
“It’s fantastic to be able to have individuals out there searching and trying to conclude or help point us in the direction we need to go,” Derzis said. “Again, that’s why it’s so important that it’s not just the police; it’s family, it’s people that we don’t know that are actually trying to help and get the resolution that, again, we were looking for.”
Though questions remain, citizens are relieved that she returned home safely Saturday evening.
“When we hear about things happening in downtown Birmingham, that’s downtown Birmingham. But when its four doors away, it really comes close to home,” said Carlee’s neighbor, Gil Price. “So again, we’re just thrilled for the family, thrilled for her and we hope this never happens again.”
Hoover police said there is no press conference with new information scheduled at this time.