An ex-Alabama attorney has expressed utter disbelief at the cop’s handling of a case involving a 25-year-old woman who went missing for 49 hours after she reported a mysterious toddler walking along the highway.
Lawyer Eric Guster has called for Carlee Russell’s arrest amid mounting evidence that casts doubt over the 25-year-old’s claim she was abducted and forced into a car by a man who came out of the trees shortly after she stopped to check on the lone child on an interstate in Hoover, about eight miles south of Birmingham, Alabama.
Ms Russell told police she was hauled into an 18-wheel truck, blindfolded and held at a home where a woman fed her cheese crackers.
At some point, she said she was put in a vehicle again but managed to escape and run through the woods to her neighborhood.
However, a series of revelations have since come out about the case that suggests the 25-year-old was wasting police time and resources, Mr Guster said.
“She says she was kidnapped, and a kidnapping didn’t happen. [They say] our citizens are safe. There’s not a kidnapper out there. So, they use every other synonym for lie except saying she lied,” he told WVTM.
According to the ex-attorney, police chief Nick Derzis has outlined three crimes they believe Ms Russell is guilty of: theft, lying to authorities and filing a false police report.
Given the potential rap sheet, he’s shocked cops have not placed the 25-year-old in handcuffs.
Mr Guster also told WVTM that the case sets a dangerous precedent for future missing persons cases, voicing his concern for African American women in particular.
“It’s going to be much more difficult for African American women to be believed, and it may actually decrease the number of actual reports of things because people are already afraid that they won’t be believed”, he said.
Mr Guster said he expects Ms Russell will be charged with filing a false police report but says police are likely waiting to establish all the facts on the ground first.
“They cannot force her to give a statement or give a statement. What I think will happen is Hoover is going to continue investigating this case.
“I expect Carlee to be charged at some point, at minimum for making a false statement. But they have to make sure they finish the full investigation,” he said yesterday.
Mr Guster’s comments mark the latest in a series of bizarre twists as the investigation into what happened on 13 July continues.
In the days before her disappearance, Ms Russell searched for information on her cellphone about Amber Alerts, a movie about a woman’s abduction and a one-way bus ticket from Birmingham, Alabama, to Nashville, Tennessee, departing the day she disappeared.
Her phone also showed she traveled about 600 yards while telling a 911 operator she was following a three or four-year-old child in a diaper on the side of the highway, police said. She has not talked to investigators a second time.
“I do think it’s highly unusual the day that someone got kidnapped that seven or eight hours before that they’re searching the internet, Googling the movie ‘Taken’ about an abduction,” Officer Derzis said. “I find that very, very strange.”
Her family told the police she was traumatized and not ready to talk again, he said.
“As you can see, there are many questions left to be answered, but only Carlee can provide those answers,” the police chief said, later adding, “We want to know the truth.”
Police said Tuesday that detectives did not uncover any evidence of a toddler walking on the interstate.
Surveillance video from the Russells’ neighborhood showed Carlee Russell walking down the sidewalk alone before arriving at her home.
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