Simmons has wiped all of his photos with Russell, 25, on Instagram as of Wednesday, July 19. He removed the posts just three days after he took to Instagram on July 16 to show his support when she returned home.
“I don’t even know how to start off this post but to only say thank you to my lord & savior Jesus Christ for saving my girlfriend’s life!” Simmons wrote via Instagram just one day after Simmons returned to her Alabama home on July 15. “Also, 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.”
Simmons then explained he had been “going nonstop since [he] received the call that she was missing” on July 13.
“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 wrote. “I was straight tunnel vision, even when I would get on social media on my downtime.”
Simmons also addressed the “false allegations & assumptions” that he had “something to do with her abduction.” After noting that the speculation “would have me discouraged at times,” he said he “didn’t give up & kept my faith!”
“I just want to thank all of my family, friends, former teammates & church members who called or texted me just to let me know that they’re praying & here for me,” Simmons continued. “You guys don’t know how much that meant to me!”
The caption concluded with Simmons asking for people to be “respectful of Carlee’s situation.”
Russell went missing after she called 911 to report seeing a toddler walking on the side of I-459 South near mile marker 11. Shortly before her disappearance, she called her brother’s girlfriend to tell her she saw the child walking alone. After the relative lost contact with Russell, the relative told called authorities and told them she heard screaming on the other line.
Just 48 hours after she went missing, Russell returned to her Alabama home alone on July 15. She was evaluated at a hospital before she returned home on the afternoon of July 16.
Amid the investigation, authorities revealed on July 18 that they found no evidence of a toddler was walking alone on the highway on the night Russell disappeared.
During a July 19 press conference, Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said Russell told them she exited her vehicle to check on the baby. Russell alleged she was approached by a man who claimed to be checking on the toddler. She was allegedly forced into a vehicle and later woke up in the trailer of an 18-wheeler with a male and female.
The nursing student said she only heard the woman’s voice and never saw her. She claimed she was able to escape the truck, though was captured and brought back by her abductors. However, she was eventually escaped again and ran through the woods to her mom and dad’s house.
Police said they have been “unable to verify most of Carlee’s initial statement made to investigators,” though noted they “have no reason to believe that there is a threat to public safety related to this case.”
Derzis also said Russell made several “very strange” online searches before she went missing, which included information about Amber Alerts, the kidnapping thriller Taken and how to get money from a cash register without getting caught.
Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.