According to the police, the missing woman from Alabama, who disappeared for two days last week, had conducted online searches related to Amber Alert, local bus tickets, and kidnapping-based action films like Taken before her disappearance.
Officials disclosed this information during a press briefing on Wednesday in which they gave a comprehensive account of the mysterious incident that attracted widespread interest.
The 25-year-old Carlee Russell, a nursing student, vanished after calling 911 on Thursday to report seeing a youngster wandering close to the highway while out with her brother’s girlfriend.
The police have stated that they currently have no evidence of any child going missing and no reports from other drivers in the busy area about such an incident.
First responders arrived at the area a short while after the 911 call, bringing with them Russell’s car, possessions, mobile and pocketbook, but Carlee was not there.
Then, approximately 49 hours after her initial disappearance, Carlee Russell returned home on Saturday.
According to Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis, Carlee revealed to investigators upon her return that she had been kidnapped and held captive by two individuals until she managed to escape.
Derzis also disclosed that other information has been shared, raising doubts about Carlee’s account, and investigators have not yet been granted permission to conduct a formal interview with her.
Derzis stated, “There are many questions that remain unanswered, but only Carlee Russell can provide those answers. We want to emphasize that it has been extremely challenging to validate a lot of Carlee’s earlier assertions about investigators, and that at this point, there is no reason for us to believe that this specific event poses any risk to the public’s safety.
Before her disappearance, Carlee Russell had conducted internet searches related to kidnapping on July 11th, two days prior, trying to find information on Amber Alerts.
On that day, she also searched for information about a bus station in Birmingham, approximately 10 miles from Hoover, and looked for one-way bus tickets to Nashville.
On the day she disappeared, Carlee Russell also searched about the film Taken and how to withdraw money without identification from an ATM.
Derzis remarked, “I think it’s a very extraordinary day when someone is kidnapped, and hours, maybe eight hours before, they are searching the internet about kidnapping and about the movie Taken. I find that very unusual.”
Investigators have disclosed additional internet searches that shed light on Carlee’s mental state, but respecting her privacy, the police have not released her other internet searches related to the Amber Alert on a computer at her workplace.
Additionally, investigators were able to verify from cell phone data that Carlee Russell had driven roughly 600 yards on the highway while conversing with the 911 operator.
When Carlee Russell went outside to check on the youngster near her car, the abductor grabbed her and had her blindfolded, she said to the police.
She described the kidnapper as a bald man with orange hair and said he forcibly lifted her and placed her in a vehicle. She recalled being on an 18-wheeler trailer as the subsequent memory.
Carlee recounted hearing the voice of an adult female and a crying child in the 18-wheeler.
She was able to get away from the 18-wheeler and flee through the woods till she arrived close to her house on foot.
Investigators noticed a cut on her lip and a small abrasion on her ankle. They found $107 in cash inside her right sock.
Carlee told the police that the female kidnapper fed her cheese crackers, which were also playing with her hair.
She mentioned that she was placed in another vehicle again and managed to escape for the second time, running towards her home while being followed by the kidnappers.
In the neighborhood surveillance video on Saturday night, she was seen walking alone on the sidewalk before returning home.
Officials also released a statement that Carlee had purchased snacks shortly before her disappearance but did not find them along with her other belongings. They also mentioned her 911 call, in which she described seeing a white male child in diapers.
On Saturday, a surveillance video from Carlee’s neighbor showed her walking alone on the footpath before returning home.