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"She Doesn’t Deserve That": Carlee Russell's Boyfriend Begs People to "Stop Bullying Her" Amid Abduction Claim Doubts
“I know what it seems like what she did," Thomar Latrell Simmons said in a new interview about questions surrounding girlfriend Carlee Russell's disappearance.
The boyfriend of Carlee Russell — the Alabama woman who returned home two days after going missing just after calling 911 to report a toddler walking along the highway — is pleading with the public to stop "bullying" her online amid questions surrounding her alleged abduction.
“The only thing I can say is, I want everyone to stop bullying her,” Thomar Latrell Simmons told the New York Post in an interview that ran Saturday. “I know what it seems like what she did. Just stop bullying on social media.”
Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell, a 25-year-old nursing student, disappeared on July 13 after calling 911, claiming she spotted a toddler roaming on the side of Interstate 495 in Hoover, Alabama. She arrived back home on foot on the night of July 15.
Hoover police have since said they haven't been able to corroborate any details of her alleged kidnapping.
“Think about her mental health," Simmons told the Post of backlash from the public towards Russell. "She doesn’t deserve that. She doesn’t. Nobody deserves to be cyberbullied."
In a July 16 Instagram post that's since been deleted, Simmons commented on his girlfriend's safe return, stating she was “literally fighting for her life for 48 hours.”
Russell’s mother, Talitha Russell, told NBC’s TODAY Tuesday that her daughter “fought for her life” in her effort to escape her captors. Police, however, said they have been “unable to verify” Russell’s story.
In initial statements after returning home, Russell told police that after getting out of her car to check on the toddler she claimed she saw roadside, she was kidnapped by a white man with orange hair. Police said she told them that the man picked her up, made her go over a fence and forced her into a car. Russell also said that the man and a woman took her to a house, made her undress, and that she believes they took photos of her, according to police.
Police said in a press conference last week that, prior to her disappearance, Russell made internet searches concerning Amber Alerts, bus tickets leaving on the day she went missing and the abduction-centered 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," Hoover Police Chief Nicholas C. Derzis said last week of Russell's disappearance.
Stuart Rome, the owner of Woodhouse spa in Birmingham, where Russell worked, told the New York Post that Russell has been fired amid police stating that they haven't been about to corroborate what she said happened to her.
“As the information came out that there were some questionable things, we’ve been a little pissed off, mainly because so many people took so much time out to search,” Rome said.
Rome also expressed concern for future, similar cases potentially receiving less attention if Russell's story does not check out.
“I think it erodes faith for the next time, it erodes faith when people see somebody who’s been abducted and they’ve been put through this,” he said. “They’re just not going to respond like they did, which is the worst part."