BREAKING: Woman Vanishes After Reporting Child Alone on Alabama Highway – Intensive Search for Carlee Russell Continues

25-Year-Old Woman Goes Missing After Spotting Child Alone on Highway

HOOVER – Carlethia Nichole “Carlee” Russell, a 25-year-old woman from Hoover, went missing on Thursday night after alerting a 911 dispatcher and her family that she had seen a child wandering alone along Interstate 459. The search for Russell, who works part-time at a spa and is studying to become a registered nurse, is currently underway, with authorities reviewing traffic camera footage for potential leads.

The Hoover Police Department is analyzing footage extracted from Traffic Cam Archive, an online company specializing in capturing, cataloging, archiving, and selling traffic camera footage. Police Chief Nick Derzis stated that the video is being enhanced to gather more information regarding Russell’s disappearance. The footage confirms the presence of Russell’s car at the scene, but when responding officers arrived after the 911 call, she was nowhere to be found.

Russell is described as a Black female, approximately 5-feet, 4-inches tall, weighing between 150 and 160 pounds. She was last seen wearing a black shirt, black pants, and white Nike shoes. She resides in Hoover with her parents and vanished just minutes away from her home.

On the night she disappeared, Russell had stopped by Taziki’s at the Colonnade around 9 p.m. to pick up food for herself and her mother. At 9:34 p.m., she made a call to Hoover 911, informing the dispatcher about a toddler she had seen walking alone on the side of I-459, between the flyover to the Galleria and Highway 150. Following the call, Russell stopped to check on the child and contacted a family member. However, contact was lost with the family member while the line remained open.

Upon investigation, officers found Russell’s red Mercedes abandoned but still running, along with some of her belongings nearby. They were unable to locate her or the child she had spotted. Her mother shared her grief, expressing heartbreak that her daughter went missing so close to their family home. A tip from a trucker recounted seeing a tall man with khaki shorts leaning over a gray car in the vicinity, and tire tracks were discovered in the grass nearby.

A total reward of $25,000 is being offered for any information leading to Russell’s safe return. An anonymous donor has contributed $20,000, while Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000. Authorities are keeping all possibilities open in their investigation, with each tip received assigned to a dedicated investigator. The Hoover Police Department, along with other law enforcement agencies, is fully committed to finding Russell and has shared the relevant information with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

With little progress in the search thus far, volunteers have also joined in the efforts to locate Russell. Angela Harris, the mother of Aniah Blanchard who went missing in 2019 and was later found deceased, has offered her support. However, the lack of specific search areas has hindered volunteer efforts. Despite the challenges, the search for Russell continues, with investigators, volunteers, and concerned community members rallying together to bring her home safely.

If you have any information regarding Carlee Russell’s whereabouts, please contact Detective Brad Fountain at 205-444-7562, Sergeant Drew Mims at 205-739-7274, or Crimestoppers of Metro Alabama at 205-254-7777.