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Crime News Missing Persons

Alabama Woman is Missing After Calling 911 to Report a Child Alone Along the Interstate

“My son’s girlfriend heard her asking the child, ‘Are you Ok?' She never heard the child say anything but then she heard our daughter scream,’’ Carlee Russell's mom said.

By Elisabeth Ford
Photo of Carlethia Carlee Nichole Russell.

Update, July 17, 2023: Carlethia Nichole Russell was found safe and is home with her family.

Police are searching for an Alabama woman after she called 911 to report a child on the side of the highway in Hoover, and then disappeared before authorities could respond.

Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell, 25, was on her way home from work when she pulled over on Interstate 459 South near the John Hawkings Parkway exit around 9:34 p.m., WVTM reported, citing her parents, Talitha and Carlos Russell.

According to a news release from the Hoover Police Department, Russell called 911 when she saw a toddler walking along the interstate. She pulled over to check on the child, before calling a family member to explain the situation.

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“The family member lost contact with her, but the line remained open,” according to the release.

Russell’s mom told the AL.com that her daughter was on the phone with her brother’s girlfriend as she pulled off the highway to check on the child, who looked to be around three or four years old.

“My son’s girlfriend heard her asking the child, ‘Are you Ok?' She never heard the child say anything but then she heard our daughter scream,’’ Talitha said. “From there all you hear on her phone is background noise from the interstate.”

Police dispatched to the location of the 911 call found Russell’s abandoned car with some of her belongings nearby, but were unable to locate the woman or the reported child.

Hoover Police said they have not received any calls of someone missing a small child.

“Her car door was open, the engine was running, and they found her phone on the ground, along with her wig and her hat,’’ Talitha said. “Her purse was still in the car. Her Apple watch was in her purse and her AirPods as well.”

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As police search for Russell, they're asking for assistance from the public in locating the missing woman.

Russell was last seen wearing a black shirt, black pants and white Nike shoes, according to police. Her parents said her hair is in tight braids.

“Anyone who believes they may have seen Russell or may have any information about this case is asked to call Detective Brad Fountain at 205-444-7562,” Hoover Police stated. 

Russell’s mom posted on Facebook about her daughter’s disappearance.

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“Friends and family whatever city or state you’re in I would like to have someone spearhead search parties,” she said. “Thank you and we are not receiving any negative thoughts. God is faithful and Carlee will be found safe and free from all hurt, harm and danger.”

Russell’s parents mentioned to WVTM a report from a truck driver who claimed they saw the missing woman's car door open, with a gray vehicle pulled in front of it.

"We're just gonna scour the Earth," Carlos said of the search for his daughter. "There's no stopping us."

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