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Police investigating Carlee Russell disappearance, trying to determine if the kidnapping was a hoax

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Brian Linder
pennlive.com

Carlee Russell is back in the headlines this week and the news isn’t good for her.

According to multiple reports, the 25-year-old Alabama woman has been fired from her job at Woodhouse Spa in Birmingham. The business’ owner, Stuart Rome, reportedly said that Russell was let go Friday.

Also, according to multiple reports, Russell’s boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons, has “quietly wiped every trace” of her from his social media account.

These are rough developments for Russell who mysteriously disappeared from along I-495 in Hoover back on July 13. She called 911 that night and claimed to have seen a toddler walking along the interstate and said she was pulling over to help. A family member said they were on the phone with Russell and heard her speak to the toddler before screaming and vanishing.

She re-appeared on July 15 at her parents’ home, and reportedly claimed she had escaped a kidnapping attempt.

But earlier this week police said they were not able to find any proof that there was a toddler or that Russell was kidnapped. Police also said that in the lead up to her disappearance Russell did Google searches for the movie “Taken,” whether or not she was too old to have an Amber Alert issued for her, the price of a one-way bus ticket to Nashville as well as “how to take money from a register without being caught.”

“As you can see, there are many questions left to be answered,” Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said. “But only Carlee can provide those answers.”

Police also said that Russell took a bathrobe, toilet paper and “other items” from the spa on the night of her disappearance and also stopped by Target to get granola bars and Cheez-Its.

“It was really devastating for them thinking a co-worker was abducted,” Rome told the New York Post. “The following day, Saturday, it was the busiest day of the week, and they had to play along and work, and in the off times, pass out flyers and other things.

“As the information came out, there were some questionable things,” he added. “We’ve been a little pissed off, mainly because so many people took so much time out to search.”

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