Police Reveal New Details Into Carlethia Russell’s Disappearance, Return Home

She was abducted and the abductor is still at large, Russell’s parents say.

Hoover police in Alabama shared a few new details Tuesday night (July 18) in their ongoing investigation of the disappearance and sudden return two days later of Carlethia "Carlee" Russell, a 25-year-old nursing student who vanished Thursday night (July 13).

It was previously reported that Russell picked up dinner at a restaurant after leaving work at a day spa. The police said Tuesday (July 18) in a statement that they learned that she went to a Target on U.S. 280 and purchased snacks before she disappeared.

“These items were not located in the vehicle or with her cell phone and wig at the scene of her disappearance,” a police statement read.

Investigators also said they found no evidence of a toddler walking along I-459, which Russell told a family member and a 911 dispatcher before she went missing. The police stated that no one else reported seeing a child walking along the busy highway.

Earlier on Tuesday (July 18), Russell’s parents, Talitha and Carlos Russell, told NBC News’ TODAY that their daughter was abducted and the abductor is still out there.

The family member on the phone with Carlee Russell when she vanished described hearing her scream, the police said, according to NBC News. Officers who responded to the scene of the disappearance found Russell’s car running with her personal items inside. There was no sign of Russell or the child she reported seeing on the highway. Carlee Russell returned home two days later.

Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell vanished after stopping on a highway to help a wandering toddler.

Black Alabama Woman Disappears After Stopping On Highway To Help Wandering Toddler

The police said Tuesday that surveillance video shows Russell walking alone toward her home when she returned. A dispatcher relayed information from a 911 caller that she was “unresponsive but breathing.” But emergency responders found her conscious and speaking before transporting her to a hospital.

Talitha Russell told Today that her daughter gave detectives her statement to assist their search for the abductor.

According to Russell’s parents, Carlee fought to stay alive. "There were moments when she physically had to fight for her life, and there were moments when she had to mentally fight for her life," Talitha Russell told TODAY. "She made it back."

Hoover Police Chief Nicholas C. Derzis neither confirmed nor denied to NBC News that investigators are seeking an individual connected to Russell’s disappearance, saying only that investigators are following up on information Carlee Russell gave them.

Her parents called on the public to be patient as details emerge and the police continue their investigation. "She's having to deal with the trauma of people just making completely false allegations about her," Talitha Russell said.

The police statement read, “We understand that there are numerous rumors and misinformation making the rounds in both social media and traditional media. While we understand the public interest in this incident, we must maintain the integrity of the case, thus we are limited in what information or statements we can release or confirm at this time.”

Hoover police planned to hold a press conference on Wednesday (July 19) where they expect to release more information about the case.

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