Police are looking for a 25-year-old woman who went missing Thursday night after calling 911 from a highway in Hoover, Alabama, to report seeing a youngster strolling along the side of the freeway.
A reward of at least $50,000 is being offered for information leading to the whereabouts of Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell.
According to the Hoover Police Department, Russell, a nursing student, contacted 911 emergency dispatchers just after 9:30 p.m. local time Thursday to say she had stopped to check on a little kid she had noticed strolling on the side of Interstate 459.
Russell, according to police, immediately phoned a family member after dialing 911.
During that conversation, the family member “lost contact with” Russell, “but the line remained open,” Hoover Police Lt. Daniel Lowe said during a press conference on Friday.
According to Lowe, responding cops discovered Russell’s abandoned vehicle and some of her things nearby, including her mobile phone, but no trace of her or a kid.
“We’re currently analyzing that phone to see if there’s any information on it that could help us,” Lowe said.
Russell was on her way home from work when she was killed, according to authorities.
“A single witness has reported possibly seeing a gray vehicle with a light-complected male standing outside of Carlee’s vehicle, but we have no further information on that individual or the vehicle at this time,” Lowe said.
Carlee’s mother, Talitha Russell, informed reporters that her daughter was on the phone with her sister-in-law when her voice went dead.
“She’s known to be helpful, and she has a big heart,” Carlee’s friend Talitha Russell said.
“And she is well aware that she should not stop for anyone, not even a child on the side of the road.” She did, however, dial 911.
And I believe she relaxed her guard since they were so nearby. When she stepped out of the vehicle, she told my daughter-in-law, ‘I can’t simply leave this small girl on the side of the road.'”
Hoover is located within the Birmingham metropolitan region. According to Lowe, a huge search was underway involving local, state, and federal officials.
Russell’s parents had assembled a big number of volunteers to help with the search.
“We’re going to be looking in every direction,” Carlee’s father, Carlos Russell, said. “We’re just going to scour the earth.”
The police station in Harpersville, Alabama, roughly 30 miles east of Hoover, stated Friday that Russell had been there earlier in the day Thursday, “handling some business.”
“We were so impressed by her respect, poise, good attitude, and drive to become a nursing student and help others,” said Harpersville police in a statement.
In an attempt to generate fresh leads, Hoover police published a new picture of Russell on Saturday. According to police, they have not received any reports about a missing youngster.
For her safe return, a reward of at least $50,000 has been offered, including $20,000 from an unknown source, $5,000 funded by CrimeStoppers of Metro Alabama, and $25,000 from real estate business Keller Williams.
Russell is described by police as being 5-foot-4 inches tall and weighing between 150 and 160 pounds. Her final known outfit consisted of a black blouse, black leggings, and white Nike sneakers.
Anyone with information on Russell’s whereabouts should contact Hoover police at 205-444-7562.