After her disappearance sparked a frantic search, authorities in Alabama have confirmed that Carlee Russell has been found alive.
Days after her harrowing case began garnering national attention, the Hoover Police Department told NBC News that the 25-year-old returned home on July 15 after two days missing. Russell had vanished just minutes after calling police to report seeing a child alone on the highway.
Hoover Police Capt. Keith Czeskleba noted that after she returned home, Russell was taken to a hospital for further evaluation. She has been treated and released and has also provided a statement to police.
"The details of that statement are a part of the ongoing investigation which is expected to continue over the next few days," a spokesperson for the department told Fox 5 Atlanta in a statement. "During the initial portion of the investigation, detectives were able to retrace nearly all of Carlee's steps until the point she went missing and are confident that will continue to be the case."
The astounding development in the case comes two days after Russell disappeared after leaving work in Birmingham.
During her commute, at around 9:34 p.m. on July 13, according to a press release shared by authorities, Russell called both 911 and a family member to report spotting a child alone on the interstate. However, when police arrived, they found Russell's vehicle and some of her belongings next to her car—but there was no trace of her, nor any child. Authorities also confirmed they have not received any other calls involving a missing toddler.
"A single witness has reported possibly seeing a gray vehicle with a light-complected male standing outside of Carlee's vehicle," Lt. Daniel Lowe stated in the release. "But we have no further information on that individual or the vehicle at this time."
At the time, police said an anonymous donor offered up a $20,000 reward in the case, with Crimestoppers adding an additional $5,000.
Shortly after Russell's return, family members and friends took to social media to share their relief, while asking for privacy during this time. This includes Russell's boyfriend Thomar Simmons, who thanked those who helped in the search to find his girlfriend on social media.
"All I asked from everyone right now is to be respectful of Carlee's situation," he wrote in a post shared to Instagram. "She was literally fighting for her life for 48 hours, so until she's physically & mentally stable again she is not able to give any updates or whereabouts on her kidnapper at this very moment."
Simmons concluded his note with gratitude, writing, "Once again I can't thank you guys enough for helping us bring Carlee home! God bless you all."
The investigation remains ongoing.
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