The Hoover Police Department has shared new details on the case of Carlee Russell, the 25-year-old Alabama woman who was missing for 49 hours last week.
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Chief Nick Derzis laid out the details Russell shared with the police. Derzis also told reporters they learned additional information about the 25-year-old’s whereabouts through surveillance footage.
Surveillance footage revealed Russell made several stops after leaving work before she made the 911 call to report a toddler wandering on the side of the interstate.
“We pretty much know exactly what took place from the time she left work until she got on the 911 call,” Derzis said.
“We can see getting out of the car on the interstate from that footage. After that, I think she only knows. We don’t.”
Since Russell returned home on foot Saturday, investigators have only been able to speak to her once, though they have expressed a desire to interview her again.
During the initial conversation Russell claimed she saw a toddler walking alongside the interstate. When she went to check on them a man came out of the trees and took her away.
The man reportedly made her climb a fence and forced her into a car. The next thing she remembers was being in the trailer of an 18-wheeler.
Russell said though she was able to temporarily escape she was captured again once again and put in a car. This time she was blindfolded.
She was brought to a house where she was told to undress, and she believes her captors took photos of her.
The following day she was placed in another car. She was able to escape again by running through the woods where she allegedly came out near her family’s home. She returned home late Saturday night with an injured lip, complaints of head pain, and $107 cash in her sock.
“As you can see there are many questions left to be answered but only Carlee can provide those answers. What we can say is we have been unable to verify most of Carlee’s initial statement made to investigators and we have no reason to believe there is a threat to public safety related to this particular case.”
As part of the investigation, the police along with the Secret Service analyzed Russell’s phone and found several internet searches Derzis believes are linked to the case.
On July 11, Russell searched for “if you have to pay for an Amber Alert.” And on the Thursday before she disappeared she googled a one-way bus ticket from Birmingham to Nashville, Tennessee, how to take money from a register without getting caught, and the movie Taken.
“I do think it’s highly unusual … on the day someone gets kidnapped … that they’re searching the internet, Googling the movie ‘Taken,’ about an abduction. I find that very strange,” Derzis said.
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