Carlee Russell
Carlee Russell, missing just over 48 hours, returned home safe Saturday night. Credit: Carlee Russell

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — A 25-year-old Alabama woman returned home late Saturday after being the focus of a two-day search by police and family members who reported her missing after she stopped to check on a child who was walking along a highway.

Police said Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell had returned to the home she shares with her parents in Hoover, AL.com reported late Saturday night.

Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said Russell arrived home alone and was brought to a hospital for evaluation, AL.com reported.

Russell’s whereabouts were not immediately clear since around 10:45 p.m. Thursday when she called 911 and a family member to say she saw a young child walking on the side of Interstate 459.

Police found Russell’s car and her cellphone but were unable to find her or a child in the area.

Hoover Police Lt. Daniel Lowe said the family member on the phone with Russell lost contact with her even though the line remained open. A single witness reported possibly seeing a gray vehicle and a man standing outside of Carlee’s vehicle, but they had no additional information.

Police asked people to report any information they might have about her disappearance, while family members organized a search in the area.

Talitha Russell told AL.com her daughter was headed home in the community about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Birmingham after leaving work and stopping to get food. She was on the phone with her brother’s girlfriend when she said she saw a child on the roadside.

“My son’s girlfriend heard her asking the child, ‘Are you Ok?’ She never heard the child say anything but then she heard our daughter scream,’’ Talitha Russell said. “From there, all you hear on her phone is background noise from the interstate.”

During the search there were two separate rewards of $20,000 and $5,000 for information assisting Russell’s safe return, police said.