Hoover, Ala. Carly Russell reportedly told a 911 operator she saw a 3- to 4-year-old child in a diaper on the side of the interstate, audio recordings show.
According to the Hoover Police Department, Carlethea “Carly” Nicole Russell, 25, went missing on July 13 after she called 911 to see a toddler walking on Interstate 459 South near Birmingham, Alabama. After the 911 call, authorities said she called a relative.
On the phone with a family member, Russell stopped talking but the line “remained open,” according to police.
Once officers arrived, Russell was not seen in the area, and his personal belongings, including his cell phone and other items, were left behind.
Police say no evidence of toddler on interstate in missing Alabama woman case
She initially went missing after leaving work at a business near The Summit in Birmingham around 8:20 p.m., then traveling toward Hoover before calling 911 at mile marker 11 on I-459 before stopping at a restaurant to get food.
Russell returned to his home at 10:45 p.m. on July 15 and was later taken to a local hospital, where he was released.
Initially, the 911 dispatcher said Russell saw a “3- to 4-year-old child walking on the side of the interstate,” describing the child as a “white male wearing a T-shirt and diaper.”
When police arrived, Russell and the reported child could not be found.
“He’s not in his car,” a police officer can be heard saying.
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Officers also reported Russell for not picking up his phone, which was later found near the car.
“I’m not sure if you already have this information, but apparently there was a sister who was on the phone with her and she still has an open line with her phone and she can hear the car on the interstate or something,” the operator can be heard saying.
The Hoover Police Department said in a press release Tuesday night that investigators found no evidence of a toddler walking on the interstate, and no additional calls were received “despite multiple vehicles passing through the area.”
Police also said that after Russell got food from a restaurant in Birmingham, he was seen buying “some snack food-type items” at a nearby Target.
Snacks was not in the vehicle when police arrived at the scene on July 13, officials said.
Alabama woman disappears after calling 911 to report toddler walking along interstate
Surveillance video obtained by detectives shows that Russell was seen walking on the sidewalk in his neighborhood before arriving at his parents’ home.
Authorities said they are reviewing evidence that helps them determine what happened in the 49 hours after Russell went missing, and what happened before she went missing.
In a statement, C Stuart Rom, owner of Woodhouse Spa Birmingham said it was glad Russell had returned home and added that it had passed on information to police regarding the investigation, according to WBRC.
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“We have been working with the Hoover Police Department since Friday morning after Carly went missing, to come forward with any information that may assist the investigation,” Rome said. “Everything we have discovered is in the possession of the Hoover Police Department. We understand that the investigation is extremely sensitive and do not want to release any details that could jeopardize the investigation. Leaks, both true and false, can have a devastating effect on any investigation.”