The family of a Black woman who went missing while trying to help a child is asking the public for help.
On Thursday night, 25-year-old Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell of Hoover, Alabama, called 911 to report a child she saw walking alongside Interstate 459. She also told her family she was stopping to check on the child. Moments later, the family member Russell was on the phone with lost contact with her, and officers arrived at the scene to find the 911 caller’s vehicle, but they saw no sign of Russell or the child she went to check on.
Al.com reports that Russell told a 911 dispatcher that she was near mile marker 11 when she saw a toddler walking alone on the side of I-459 between the flyover to the Galleria and Highway 150. After stopping to check on the child she then called a family member to report the same details before the family member lost contact with her while the line remained open.
According to Russell’s mother, Talitha Russell, Carlethia was on the phone with her brother’s girlfriend while she was pulling over to see about the child, who she said looked to be three or four years old.
“She called 911 when she pulled over,’’ Talitha Russell told Al.com. “She got out of the car. I think she probably let her guard down thinking 911 would be there in a second.”
“My son’s girlfriend heard her asking the child, ‘Are you Ok? She never heard the child say anything but then she heard our daughter scream,’’ Talitha continued. “From there all you hear on her phone is background noise from the interstate.”
Talitha said when Hoover police officers arrived, her daughter’s “car door was open, the engine was running, and they found her phone on the ground, along with her wig and her hat.’’ Talitha also noted that Carlethia’s purse was still in the car and that a trucker traveling along the highway called in a tip regarding the vehicle and a second person at the scene to 911 dispatch.
“He saw her red car with the door open and he saw a grey car with a tall brown-skinned man with khaki shorts on leaning over in the car,’’ Talitha said.
Tabitha and Carlethia’s father, Carlos Russell, are currently searching the Hoover area where their daughter was last seen along with other family members and friends.
According to Al.com, Harris is helping the Russell family work through Cime Stoppers to find Carlethia, who has been described as being 5 feet, 4 inches tall, and weighing between 150 and 160 pounds. S
he was last seen wearing a black shirt, black pants, and white Nike shoes. Anyone with information on her has been asked to contact Hoover Detective Brad Fountain at 205-444-7562.