The search for Carlee Russell is over, but more details about what happened to her are just starting to come to light. Her boyfriend, Thomar Simmons, recently said that a “kidnapper” was behind her disappearance.
Thomar took to Facebook with a post addressing the rumors, concerns, and questions about Carlee’s case. He thanked everyone who offered prayers and support during the crisis as news outlets, social media users, and the Hoover, Alabama, community mobilized immediately for Carlee.
“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 on Sunday.
The past few days have been heartwrenching for Carlee Russell and her loved ones.
“I have been going nonstop since I received the call that she was missing on Thursday night. I know she would’ve done the same for me, so I wasn’t going to give up until I saw her face again!” he continued.
As BOSSIP previously reported, the 25-year-old went missing on Thursday night. She was driving home from work on I-459 when she spotted a young child on the side of the road. Carlee pulled over, reported the sighting to 911, and exited her car to help. Instead of saving an endangered child, whom many speculate was bait, she vanished. According to Thomar, Carlee was “fighting for her life” from that moment.
Carlee was found alive on Saturday night and returned to her family home. Although her miraculous recovery is what so many people prayed and worked for, the support seemed to turn against her. True crime addicts and social media sleuths immediately demanded answers and when they didn’t get any while Carlee was still hospitalized and “in shock”, they started spreading conspiracy theories about the case.
“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 & mentally stable again she is not able to give any updates or whereabouts on her kidnapper at this very moment,” Carlee’s boyfriend said.
Many of the same people who amplified the search efforts pulled a 180°. Rather than celebrate Carlee’s survival, they questioned whether she ran away or staged a stunt for attention. They also accused Thomar of being behind her abduction.
“I was straight tunnel vision, even when I would get on social media on my downtime & see some of the false allegations & assumptions about me having something to do with her abduction would have me discouraged at times I didn’t give up & kept my faith!”
Carlee’s mother, Talitha Robinson-Russell, made a similar statement requesting privacy and patience from the public.
“We do want to ask for privacy at this time to allow us to just love on our daughter and each other with our close family and friends. Also, please consider the fact we have not slept for 3 nights and we are mentally and physically exhausted,” she wrote on Facebook the morning after Carlee was found alive.
The true crime trend and murder podcasts seem to have warped some minds when it comes to victims and their families. These aren’t characters in a mystery game to solve or content to consume for a satisfying ending. These are real people who are still in the first days of a traumatic nightmare.
“Just as we made a commitment to not entertain negative thoughts during the time our daughter was missing, we surely will not entertain negative thoughts/statements, unvalidated opinions, or sheer ignorance at such a joyous time,” Talitha continued.
We don’t need every detail to have empathy for a tragic situation that is increasingly common. Young Black women like Carlee make up 40% of human trafficking victims in the U.S. They rarely receive the same overwhelming support, press coverage, or relatively happy ending.
As law enforcement continues to investigate this shocking case, give Carlee Russell and her family some time and space to heal.
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