Emergency room
Photo: Ghornephoto via Getty Images

Woman undergoing medical evaluation after returning home days after vanishing from an Alabama highway

Details about Carlee Russell’s disappearance remain vague following her safe return home.

  /  07.16.2023

A two-day search for a woman who mysteriously disappeared from an Alabama highway has come to an end. Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell vanished after she stopped to help a toddler she had seen walking alongside I-495 Thursday (July 13) evening in Hoover. At the time, she was on her way home after making a stop for food.

To loved ones and the public’s surprise, she returned home late Saturday (July 15) around 10:45 p.m., according to WRBC. The 25-year-old was then transported to UAB Hospital in Birmingham for evaluation. Authorities say she showed up alone, although details about how she made it back to her parents’ home remain unknown to the public at this time.

As previously reported by REVOLT, a multi-agency search was activated when the nursing student disappeared shortly after she called 911 to report a sighting of a toddler walking alongside the interstate. A family member claimed to have been on the phone with Russell when she decided to check on the child herself. At some point, she was heard screaming before the connection was lost.

When police arrived at her location, they found her vehicle, a wig she had been wearing, her phone, AirPods, her purse, and an Apple Watch. But she and the child were nowhere to be found. “A single witness has reported possibly seeing [a] gray vehicle with a light-complected male standing outside of Carlee’s vehicle, but we have no further information on that individual or the vehicle at this time,” said Lt. Daniel Lowe when he spoke to the media on Friday (July 14). Traffic camera footage that was released showed Russell’s car as she stopped in the shoulder lane, but signs of her disappearance were unclear. Authorities say that additional details about the bizarre case are forthcoming.

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