Police in the city of Hoover are now saying they do not think Carlee Russell was kidnapped last Thursday after reported seeing a toddler walking along the motorway. Now Carlee Russell in being accused of being the new Jussie Smollett.
In a 30-minute press conference on Wednesday, Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis stated that he does not think a crime was committed and provided fresh evidence challenging Russell’s claim that she was kidnapped. This new information includes several revealing Google searches Russell made on her mobile in the days and hours before she vanished.
According to Russell, some recent searches on his phone were for “How to steal money from a register without getting caught,” “one-way bus ticket from Birmingham to Nashville,” “Amber Alert information,” and the movie “Taken,” which is a movie about an international kidnapping.
Derzis declared that the probe was still ongoing. However, “we owe it to our citizens [to share] the facts that we have uncovered due to the public interest and, in some cases, public fear that this story has generated.”
“It’s highly unusual the day someone is kidnapped that they Google the movie ‘Taken,’ about an abduction,” he continued. “I find it to be very strange.”
Mayor Frank Brocato and Hoover Police Capt. Keith Czeskleba stood by Derzis as he described how investigators pieced together Russell’s disappearance, including by listening to the 911 call Russell made to the authorities. Russell reported seeing a white man youngster, maybe 3 or 4 years old, wandering along the motorway during the call.
Derzis claimed that camera footage reveals that the car rolled at least 600 yards, or six football fields, on the motorway shoulder before coming to a complete stop. The dispatcher had requested her to keep an eye on the child.
“Carlee’s 911 call remains the only call about a child on the interstate,” he stated before going on to say, “To think that a toddler, barefoot, that is 3 or 4, travel six football fields without crying or getting into the road, it’s very hard for me to understand.”
The police chief added that Russell had stopped at Target for granola bars and Cheez-It snacks before leaving for the evening and had taken a bathrobe and toilet paper from her spa job, but none of these items were discovered when officers arrived to find her car.
Derzis claimed Russell, a 25-year-old nursing student, claimed in the one interview with police so far that when she stepped out of her car to check on the toddler, a white male with orange hair seized her and forced her to cross a nearby fence and get into a car. She claimed that before she realised it, she had inside the trailer of an 18-wheeler truck with a female accomplice.
Carlee Russell admitted to escaping once, but that she had first been apprehended and taken to a chamber where she was given cheese crackers. She managed to escape once more at some point later, this time while in a car, according to Russell, who then escaped through the woods to her house in the western area of Hoover.
The chief stated once more that the department would like to speak with Russell once more to better understand what happened, but the family has claimed that Russell is not mentally capable of speaking at this time.
As soon as she is prepared, we may speak, he added.
In an interview with Yahoo News before the press conference, former criminal defence attorney and civil litigator Eric Guster of Birmingham said he had concerns about the tale from the start.
“On Thursday, I was afraid. They are stealing [this woman] off the side of the road 20 minutes from my house, I thought to myself. Then on Friday, it dawned on him, “This doesn’t make any sense. It was a fraud by Friday afternoon, I realised. I was aware it was a lie.
Guster, a legal analyst who has been discussing the case on Facebook Live since Monday, now thinks charges may be forthcoming.
I anticipate a tsunami of charges from them, he continued. To prove to the rest of the world that Hoover is a secure location, “I expect them to probably have all the videos and show all of her movements and how she made this up.”
According to the most recent census, Hoover, an affluent suburb, is home to roughly 92,000 people. About 19% of that population is Black, while 70% are white. The average household makes just around $100,000. However, according to Guster, there have always been strained racial relations in the neighbourhood, notably in the wake of the 2018 police killing of Black man Emantic Bradford Jr., age 21.
Guster stated, “They were taking the attacks on their police department very personally, and they’re going to come down hard on her.”