Alabama cops have found no evidence of a mysterious toddler walking along a highway that Carlee Russell reported before she vanished for 49 hours – and say she was found wandering alone near her home when she reappeared.
Carlee Russell, 25, vanished from the side of the I-495 interstate after calling 911 to report the toddler, but police said late Tuesday there were no other reports or evidence to support that claim.
Officials also confirmed Carlee stopped at a Target to buy snacks before arriving at the scene of her disappearance, after she picked up her dinner from a restaurant.
Those snacks were not found anywhere in or around Carlee’s car.
Police revealed surveillance footage taken from her neighborhood shows Russell ‘walking down the sidewalk alone’ before arriving at the home she shares with her parents on Saturday night.
The newest update from police still does not answer why Carlee vanished for so long, or whether or not she had been abducted.
Her boyfriend and parents continue to claim Carlee had been kidnapped, with her boyfriend Thomar Simmons saying she had been ‘fighting for her life’ in the two days she was gone.
On Thursday, Carlee left work at The Summit in Birmingham and stopped to pick up food at a restaurant in The Colonnade before getting on I-495 and heading back towards her home in Hoover.
She called 911 at 9.34pm and reported she was stopping along the interstate to check on a toddler she saw in the area, police said.
Russell’s 911 call was the only report of a child on the interstate at the time, and there were no reports of a child missing in the area, police said.
After the call, her family said she was on the phone with her brother’s girlfriend, who didn’t hear a child but listened as Carlee Russell screamed. The line remained open but Carlee stopped responding.
Within five minutes of being dispatched, Hoover police officers arrived and found Russell’s wig, cellphone and purse with her Apple Watch on the road near her vehicle.
At 10.44pm on Saturday, a 911 caller reported Russell has returned home to her parents’ house on foot.
Police dispatch audio revealed that Russell was ‘unresponsive, but breathing’ after officials said she returned to her parents’ home. However, police later said that was information related to a dispatcher and when officers arrived, she was alert.
Russell was taken to a hospital to be evaluated, where she was treated and released. Detectives went to Russell’s home and the hospital to take a statement from her.
‘The details of that statement are a part of the ongoing investigation, which is expected to continue over the next few days,’ police said in a statement on Monday.
‘During the initial portion of the investigation detectives were able to retrace nearly all of Carlee’s steps until the point she went missing and are confident that will continue to be the case.’
‘We rejoice with the Russell family as they continue to rest and recover from this situation and ask for their wishes to be respected regarding their privacy.’