Carlee Russell, the 25-year-old woman from Alabama who went missing Thursday night, was “fighting for her life” while missing, her boyfriend wrote in an Instagram post following her return home.
Russell returned home Saturday night after going missing when she checked on a toddler who appeared to be walking alone on the side of an interstate in Hoover, a suburb of Birmingham, Hoover police previously confirmed to Newsweek on Sunday. A police department spokesperson said more details about her whereabouts remained under investigation and that more information would later be released.
Russell’s boyfriend, Thomar Simmons, wrote in an Instagram post that circulated on social media on Sunday that Russell was “fighting for her life” in the roughly 48 hours she disappeared.
“All I asked from everyone right now is to be respectful of Carlee’s situation. She was literally fighting for her life for 48 hours, so until she’s physically and mentally stable again she is not able to give any updates or whereabouts on her kidnapper at this very moment,” Simmons wrote.
In his post, Simmons also thanked everyone who helped spread the word about Russell’s disappearance and for helping to “bring Carlee home.” Her disappearance drew national attention, with many on social media helping to raise awareness about the case.
“Thank you to everyone who shared a picture, came out to the Hoover Met to help us with the search parties, & who went & proceeded to tell other people about Carlee to bring more awareness to her story,” he wrote.
Russell’s mother Talitha Robinson-Russell wrote in a Facebook post Sunday: “God is faithful and He has answered our prayers. We are so grateful to each of you for all the acts of kindness, generosity, and compassion you have shown. Our baby is safe!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Father God.”
She asked for privacy for the time being, but said the family will release more information at a later date.
Russell was first reported missing Thursday night after calling 911 at about 9:35 p.m. to report that she saw a child walking on the side of the I-459 South in Hoover, according to police. She stopped along the interstate to check on the child and also called family members telling them “the same details.”
Russell’s family then lost contact with her, though the phone line remained open, police said. When officers arrived at the scene, they found her car and belongings, but were unable to find her or the child. At about 10:45 p.m. Saturday night, Hoover police were told that Russell had returned home.
After police and fire personnel responded to investigate the development, Russell was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated.
Hoover Police Chief Nicholas Derzis said in an interview with local news station WBRC that investigators will eventually sit down for an interview with Russell, but their current priority is “making sure that she got home safe with her family.”
“The first thing is to give Carlee and family a little time to get themselves back together,” he said. “I know it’s been a tough experience for them. When we think it’s time to sit down and have a conversation with Carlee and try to get some facts, we’ll do that.”
Newsweek reached out to the Hoover Police Department regarding any updates to the investigation Sunday afternoon.
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