Story of Woman Who Vanished on Highway Gets Stranger

Boyfriend says Carlee Russell was kidnapped, fought for her life before eventually reappearing
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
Woman Who Vanished on Highway Was Kidnapped, Her Boyfriend Claims
Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell.   (Alabama Law Enforcement Agency)

The boyfriend of an Alabama woman who vanished for two days after reportedly seeing a toddler wandering on the side of an interstate Thursday night says she was abducted. Before she reappeared at her family home Saturday night, Carlethia "Carlee" Nichole Russell, 25, "was literally fighting for her life for 48 hours," Thomar Latrell Simmons wrote on Facebook, per the New York Post. He gave no further details on what allegedly happened to his girlfriend, but said that "until she's physically & mentally stable again, she is not able to give any updates or whereabouts on her kidnapper at this very moment."

Similarly, Russell's family had previously said they believed the toddler Russell reported seeing on the side of I-459 was being used as "bait" to lure her out of her car and, unbeknownst to her until it was too late, into the hands of a kidnapper, Law & Crime reports. She was apparently dropped off at home two days later, arriving on foot and seeming to be in shock, the Post reports. She was taken to a hospital for evaluation and police were giving her time to recover before interviewing her; her initial statement was taken but has not been made public by authorities, USA Today reports. Police remain unaware of any missing children in the area. (More Alabama stories.)

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