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Carlee Russell's boyfriend says she shouldn't be bullied over her disappearance

Thomar Simmons acknowledged that Carlee Russell’s story about her alleged abduction seems suspicious in a new statement.

  /  07.23.2023

As the memes, jokes, and public ridicule surrounding Carlee Russell and her tale of an alleged abduction grow louder, there is at least one person still showing her compassion: Thomar Simmons. The University of Alabama alum was the nursing student’s boyfriend, though the current state of their relationship is unknown as he recently removed all traces of her from his social media.

Russell has been a media spectacle since she mysteriously vanished from the side of the interstate in Hoover, Alabama, on July 13. The 25-year-old reportedly spotted a lone toddler wandering alongside the dangerous roadway. She resurfaced two days later at her parents’ house with a bizarre tale of being kidnapped and held hostage by two individuals.

Several questions about the validity of her story have cropped up since her safe return home. As details about her alleged experience were revealed by the police, so did the suspicions that her kidnapping was a hoax. Authorities have publicly stated that they have been unable to confirm reports of a toddler near the interstate and aspects of Russell’s story. As a result, she has been pummeled online with criticism and claims that she is setting back efforts to bring missing Black women home. Simmons, however, believes the public has taken things too far.

“The only thing I can say is I want everyone to stop bullying her,” he told The New York Post in a statement on July 22. “I know what it seems like she did. Just stop bullying on social media. Think about her mental health. She doesn’t deserve that. She doesn’t. Nobody deserves to be cyberbullied,” he continued.

Simmons previously advocated for people to be respectful of Russell’s healing after she reunited with her family. He, like many others in Hoover, joined in on the massive two-day search for her. “I was straight tunnel vision, even when I would get on social media on my downtime [and] see some of the false allegations [and] assumptions about me having something to do with her abduction would have me discouraged at times,” he wrote in a since-deleted post celebrating her return. At this time, the investigation into her disappearance remains ongoing.

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