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Police in missing Alabama woman case say no evidence of toddler on interstate

HOOVER, Alabama – Police in Alabama say that there’s no evidence of a toddler walking down the interstate after a woman went missing but returned home days later.

Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell, 25, went missing on July 13 after she called 911 to report seeing a toddler walking on the side of Interstate 459 South near Birmingham, Alabama, the Hoover Police Department said. After the 911 call, Russell called a relative and then went to check on the alleged child.

While on the phone with the family member, Russell stopped talking but the line “remained open,” according to police. 

When police arrived on the scene, Russell’s belongings, including her phone were found in the car, but she was nowhere to be seen. A single reported possibly seeing a light-complected male standing outside Russell’s car.

BOYFRIEND OF MISSING ALABAMA WOMAN WHO RETURNED HOME SAYS SHE WAS ‘FIGHTING FOR HER LIFE FOR 48 HOURS’

Hoover, Alabama, police are reviewing traffic camera video from I-459 that shows Carlee Russell’s car, seen driving slowly in the emergency lane with warning lights, pull over before she went missing July 13. (Courtesy: Hoover Police Department/TCA)

Talitha Russell told AL.com that her daughter could be heard screaming on the phone before the line went silent. Carlee Russell initially went missing after she got off work from a business near The Summit in Birmingham at around 8:20 p.m., then likely stopped at a restaurant to pick up food before she made the call to 911 at mile marker 11 on I-459 traveling toward Hoover.

Officials said Russell was found safe around 10:45 p.m. on July 15 after she returned to the home that she shares with her parents. She was taken to a local hospital and later released.

The Hoover Police Department said in a press release on Tuesday night that investigators haven’t found any evidence of a toddler walking on the interstate, and didn’t receive any additional calls “despite numerous vehicles passing through that area.”

Police also said after Carlee Russell picked up food from a restaurant in Birmingham that she was seen at a nearby Target purchasing “some snack food type items.”

ALABAMA WOMAN DISAPPEARS AFTER CALLING 911 TO REPORT TODDLER WALKING ALONG INTERSTATE

AL missing woman

The Hoover Police Department said in a press release that Carlee Russell called 911 on Thursday night to report a toddler walking along I-459 South near Birmingham, Alabama. (Hoover Police Department)

Officials noted that the snacks weren’t in the car when police arrived at the scene on July 13.

Surveillance video obtained by detectives shows that Carlee Russell was seen walking down the sidewalk in her neighborhood before arriving at her parents’ house.

Alabama woman who went missing Carlee Russell wears a dress

While on the phone with the relative, Russell stopped talking but the line “remained open,” according to police. (Hoover Police Department)

Officials said they are evaluating evidence that is helping them determine what happened in the 49 hours Carlee Russell was missing, and also what took place before her disappearance.

In a statement, C. Stuart Rome, owner of Woodhouse Spa Birmingham, said he’s happy Carlee Russell has returned home and added that he sent information to police regarding the investigation, according to WBRC.

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AL woman

Once officers arrived at the scene, Russell’s car and some of her belongings were found nearby, but police didn’t find her or the child who she called 911 about. (Hoover Police Department)

“We’ve been working with the Hoover Police Department since Friday morning, the morning following Carlee’s disappearance, in order to come up with any information that would help the investigation. Everything we uncovered is in the possession of the Hoover Police Department. We understand the investigation is in a very sensitive state and do not want to release any details that could jeopardize the investigation. Leaks, both true and untrue, can have a devastating impact on any investigation,” Rome said.

The Hoover Police Department will hold a press conference to release additional information on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. local time.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

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