Alabama woman who vanished after stopping to report child on highway found

The Alabama woman who vanished when she stopped to help a stranded toddler on a busy highway was found alive Saturday night.

Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell, 25, returned to her home in Hoover, Ala. before 10:45 p.m., the Hoover Police Department confirmed to WBRC. 

The outlet reported she was dropped off at the residence and “appeared to be in shock.”

Russell was transported to a local hospital for evaluation, according to police.

Hoover is located roughly 10 miles south of Birmingham, the state’s third-largest city.

Hoover police confirmed to The Post more details will be made available as they continue their investigation into where Russell has been during the two-day disappearance.

Russell went missing on Thursday night when she went to help a wandering toddler on I-459, law enforcement told the outlet.

She was reported on the phone with 911 at around 9:30 p.m. before speaking with her sister-in-law 6 minutes later when a “scream” was heard on Russell’s end of the line before going silent.

Officers arrived just minutes later and found Russell’s running car, cell phone, and purse.

Police were unable to find any sign of her or the child she reported.

“In the process at some point she got out of the car and my daughter-in-law could hear her asking the child if they were OK,” Talitha Russell, Carlee’s mother, told the outlet.

“The child did not respond, or at least she did not hear her respond, he or she respond. And then she heard our daughter Carlee scream and from there on all we could hear was noise… background noise in her phone which we later found out was noise from the interstate.”

A traffic camera video obtained by WBRC from Interstate 459 at mile marker 11.7 is believed to show Russell’s car pulling over before she vanished.

Russell had just finished her shift at The Woodhouse Day Spa in Birmingham and stopped to pick up food for herself and her mother when she spotted the child, which she estimated to be 3 or 4 years old, Talitha said.

One witness told police they saw a gray vehicle parked near the scene and saw a “light-complexioned male” standing outside Russell’s car, according to Lt. Daniel Lowe of the Hoover Police Department.