Police: ‘We are unable to verify any of missing woman’s story,’ say search history about Amber Alerts and taking money from cash registers ‘strange’

Published 8:53 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Police investigators said Wednesday afternoon that all searches for an alleged kidnapper of the Alabama woman who went missing after she allegedly stopped to help have proven to be unfounded.

Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to dispel rumors surrounding the disappearance of Carlee Russell.

Police searched for Russell for approximately 48 hours after she made a 911 call Thursday night claiming that she had spotted a small child walking alone on Interstate 459 in Hoover, Alabama.

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She vanished just before police arrived on the scene. Neither a child nor Carlee were found.

Saturday night, she walked to her parents’ home, alone.

She told police she was abducted and held against her will in an 18-wheeler trailer.

Police investigators said they have been unable to verify most of what she told police.

“We pretty much know exactly what took place from after she left work,” Derzis said, adding that police have details up until the point at which she disappeared. “After that only she knows.”

Carlee’s parents told national media on Tuesday morning that they absolutely believe their daughter was abducted.

“I think parents are believing what their daughter is saying,” the police chief said.

Derzis said the investigation is continuing and that they will get to the bottom of what she did and why when she disappeared.

The chief said investigators learned that Carlee’s phone and a work computer that she had access to contained internet searches including:

  • “You have to pay for an amber alert.”
  • “How to take money from a register without being caught”
  • Along with searches related to the Birmingham bus station, a one-way bus ticket and a search about the film “Taken” which focused on an abduction.

“I find that strange,” the police chief said.

The chief said he does not believe a kidnapper is on the loose and that investigators said they have been unable to prove any crime occurred.

The chief said surveillance video from Carlee’s place of work indicated she left with a dark colored bathrobe, a roll of toilet paper and other items.