New details have emerged in the case of Carlee Russell, the Alabama woman who returned home after she disappeared mysteriously. Despite the story Russell told when she called 911 on the night of her disappearance, Hoover Police Department Chief Nick Derzis said investigators could not verify several claims, including whether she was kidnapped or abducted.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Derzis said police are concerned with the search results they found on Russell’s phone. Her internet history, according to police, included questions about how to pay for an Amber Alert and “how to take money from a register without getting caught.” She also searched for information on the Birmingham bus station and looked up the movie Taken, the 2008 film in which Liam Neeson’s character tries to save a kidnapped young woman.
“There were other searches on Carlee’s phone that appeared to shed some light on her mindset,” Derzis told reporters, according to ABC News. “I do think it’s highly, highly unusual to the day that someone gets kidnapped that several — seven hours or eight hours before that — that they’re searching the internet, googling the movie Taken about an abduction. I find that very, very strange.”
Derzis said Russell was seen on surveillance camera when she left her work on July 13, the day she disappeared. The cameras showed the Alabama woman left with a robe and toilet paper. She also ordered food and bought snacks at Target.
Russell called 911 later that night, saying she saw a toddler walking alone on the highway. When police responded, they didn’t find Russell or the child. However, officers recovered the woman’s phone and wig in the car and the food she bought earlier that day. Derzis said the Target items, the robe and toilet paper were also missing, TMZ reported.
Per TMZ, other searches on Russell’s phone in the days and hours leading up to the disappearance include: “Do you have to pay for an Amber Alert?” “How to take money from a register without getting caught?” “Birmingham bus station?” and “One-way bus ticket Birmingham to Nashville.”
Russell arrived at her parents’ home two days after she disappeared. Now speaking with police, Russell said a man with orange hair and a bald spot came out of the woods and grabbed her when she stopped her car to check on the toddler. The 25-year-old told police she was taken to somebody’s house and forced to undress while the man and another woman took photos of her. Russell said she ran through the woods and escaped when they tried to load her into a car.
Police said surveillance cameras showed Russell walking alone in her neighborhood before she returned home on Saturday.
According to the Hoover Police Department, the investigation of the mysterious disappearance continues. Derzis said surveillance cameras didn’t show anyone else near Russell’s car on the highway when she disappeared.
“From what we can tell, we don’t see anybody on the interstate other than her car and then someone getting out of her driver’s side,” he said. “We have sent that off to the FBI for enhancement.”
The department also said there’s no evidence of a toddler walking on the highway.
“Nor did we receive any additional calls about a toddler walking down the interstate, despite numerous vehicles passing through that area as depicted by the traffic camera surveillance video,” the department stated in a press release, according to ABC News.
Derzis didn’t confirm whether Russell could face charges if her story is proven to be false.