What Carlee Russell traffic-camera video reveals


Traffic-camera footage of the night when Carlethia “Carlee” Russell went missing for days last week before returning home shows her car pulling off the I-459. The 25-year-old had called 911 about a toddler walking alone on the side of the interstate.

The video comes from Traffic Cam Archive, an online company that captures, catalogs, archives, and sells high-quality traffic camera footage, according to its website.

It shows the Alabama woman’s car, a red Mercedes, driving slowly on the shoulder lane of I-459 in Hoover on Thursday night with her flashers on before coming to a stop. The car can be seen remaining at the same spot for several minutes in the video, still with her lights flashing. Police confirmed the vehicle to be Russell’s.

A police vehicle
The flashing lights of a police vehicle. There is traffic-cam footage of Carlee Russell, a 25-year-old woman from Alabama who went missing on Thursday before turning up at her parents’ home on Saturday night.

The woman went missing on Thursday as she was on her way home from work, according to family members. Russell was picking up dinner at a restaurant when she said she saw a toddler walking alone on the side of the road, and she stopped to see if she could help.

Russell first called 911 about the toddler, per the Hoover Police Department. She then called a family member who lost contact with her after hearing her scream, as reported by Police were called to the scene and found Russell’s empty vehicle with some of her belongings still inside—including her wig, phone, and purse—but no trace of the woman or the child.

After a frantic 48-hour search for the missing woman, Russell reappeared at her parents’ home on Saturday morning, where she had arrived by foot. She was then brought to a local hospital, treated, and released, according to police.

It’s not yet clear where Russell had been between Thursday night and Saturday when she showed up at her parents’ door, but the police officers are investigating what might have happened.

As of Saturday night, the reward for information leading to Russell’s safe return home had reached $58,260.95, per Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama. Police officers said they were happy that the woman had made it back home safely.

The traffic-camera video captured on Thursday night is part of the investigation. “That footage is still being analyzed as part of the investigation in conjunction with the 911 call to accurately determine the timeframe,” read a police release that followed Russell’s reappearance.

People on social media have published the traffic camera video pushing up the brightness for clarity, leading users to debate whether there was a child on the side of the road in the first place.

In a statement, police officers told Newsweek that they are working to retrace Russell’s movements before she went missing. At about 8:20 p.m. on Thursday, she left work from Birmingham and ordered food from a nearby business. Police have not been able to locate anyone with Russell from the time she left that business until the 911 call was made.

Police investigators have not yet made available any detail about the traffic-camera footage.


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