Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell, a 25-year-old nursing student from Alabama, went missing on July 13 and returned home two days later. Very little is known about what happened to Carlee and where she was during her disappearance, but some people speculated that her boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons, was involved. Keep scrolling to learn more about Thomar and Carlee’s mysterious case.

Who Is Carlee Russell’s Boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons?

Like Carlee, Thomar is a native of Hoover, Alabama. He is a first-generation graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, as he revealed in a December 2022 Instagram post

“Let your dreams be bigger than your fears, your actions louder than your words, and your faith stronger than your feelings,” Thomar captioned a photo in his graduation gown.

Was Carlee Russell’s Boyfriend Involved in Her Disappearance?

While not much is known about Carlee and Thomar’s relationship, some people following the case speculated that Thomar may have been involved in her disappearance. He denied the allegations in a lengthy Instagram post after her return home on July 15.

“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!” Thomar wrote. “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, but I didn’t give up & kept my faith!”

What Happened to Carlee Russell?

Carlee was reported missing after she called 911 to report seeing a toddler walking on the side of I-459 South near mile marker 11, according to the Hoover Police Department. She called a relative while she checked on the child, but the relative — who was said to be Carlee’s brother’s girlfriend — lost contact with Carlee and instead heard screaming on the line. 

Carlee returned to her home alone on Saturday night. She was then taken to a hospital for evaluation and returned home again the next day. Thomar claimed that she was abducted, writing on Instagram that Carlee was “literally fighting for her life for 48 hours.”

“Until she’s physically & mentally stable again she is not able to give any updates or whereabouts on her kidnapper at this very moment,” Thomar added.

Carlee’s family also believes she was kidnapped, with her mother, Talita Robinson-Russell, telling NBC News, “Carlee has given detectives her statement so they can continue to pursue her abductor.”

“There were moments she had to physically fight for her life and there were moments she had to mentally fight for her life,” her mother added, “She’s having to deal with the trauma with people making false allegations about her.”

During a press conference on July 19, Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis described what Carlee told investigators about her disappearance, including that she was approached by a man as she went to check on the baby by the side of the road. The man allegedly took Carlee and forced her into a vehicle. The next thing she remembered was waking up in the trailer of an 18-wheeler with a male and female.

Carlee only heard the woman’s voice, as well as a baby crying. She managed to escape the truck but was captured again and forced into a vehicle while blindfolded. Carlee claimed she was taken to a house and forced to undress. She believes nude photos were taken of her. 

The next day, Carlee woke up and was fed cheese crackers by the woman and was taken to a vehicle. She escaped again and made it to her mom and dad’s house, where she was found with a torn lip, rips in her shirt and $107 cash in her right sock.

What Have Police Said About Carlee Russell’s Phone Search and Internet History?

Derzis said the police were “unable to verify most of Carlee’s initial statement made to investigators.” Additionally, they found a “very strange” history of online searches on her phone from the days leading to her disappearance. The searches included information on Amber Alerts, the thriller movie Taken and information on Birmingham bus tickets. One search also asked “how to take money from a register without being caught.”

“There were other searches on Carlee’s phone that appeared to shed some light on her mindset but out of respect for her privacy, we will not be releasing the content of those searches at this time,” Derzis added.

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