Carlee Russell's Parents Have Maintained That Their Daughter Was Abducted

Carlee Russell's parents are still standing by her, even as the evidence continues to mount that she may have faked her recent disappearance.


Jul. 20 2023, Updated 10:40 a.m. ET

The case of Carlee Russell has quickly morphed into one of the strangest viral stories in recent memory. Carlee called 911 on July 13 and claimed that there was a toddler walking alone on the side of the highway in Alabama. Shortly thereafter, Carlee appeared to disappear, only to reappear at her parent's house roughly 48 hours later.

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In the days that have followed, local police have said that they can find no evidence that Carlee was actually abducted, and her search history suggests that she may have planned and then orchestrated her own disappearance. In the wake of this news, though, Carlee's parents have continued to stand by her.

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Who are Carlee Russell's parents?

Carlee, whose full name is Carleitha, was born to Carlos and Talitha Russell. In the wake of the accusations against Carlee, Talitha and Carlos have continued to stand by her, saying that they truly believe she was kidnapped.

In an interview with NBC News, Carlos and Talitha provided additional detail on what they believed happened to their daughter, and maintained that she had been abducted.

What did Carlos and Talitha say in their interview?

Carlos and Talitha said that their daughter was abducted, and that the person responsible is still at large.

Following the news of Carlee's disappearance, they said they waited in agony while police looked for Carlee, and that they received fake texts and calls from people who claimed to have information about their daughter.

"There were actually just so many calls and texts from people who maliciously lied to us," Talitha said. "I just didn't know people could be so evil."

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Carlee returned home late on July 15 and was alone and on foot. Talitha said that she felt "so much joy" after seeing her daughter again.

"We tried to hug as best we could, but I had to stand back because she was not in a good state. So we had to stand back and let medical professionals work with her," Talitha explained.

Carlee was taken to a local hospital after she returned home, and was evaluated and then released.

Source: YouTube
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During the interview, Talitha and Carlos declined to share what their daughter had told them after she came back. "Anything leading to the case itself, we can’t discuss that," Talitha explained.

She was firm about one thing though: She believes that her daughter had to fight for her life to escape from whoever abducted her.

"There were moments when she physically had to fight for her life, and there were moments when she had to mentally fight for her life," Talitha said. "She made it back."

Talitha also said that people shouldn't speculate about her daughter's case. "She's having to deal with the trauma of people just making completely false allegations about her," she explained.

Many online believe that Carlee staged her own disappearance, and the police have even said they can't find any evidence she was abducted. Even so, Carlee has yet to be interviewed by authorities and has not been charged with any crime.

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