Carlee Russell has been terminated from her job at the Woodhouse spa in Birmingham, Alabama. Her co-workers are upset and frustrated with her increasingly suspicious kidnapping story. Owner Stuart Rome stated that his staff was devastated when they heard of her alleged disappearance and made efforts to assist in finding her.
On the following day, despite the shock, her co-workers had to continue working and even distributed flyers during their downtime to aid in the search. However, as more information came to light, revealing Russell’s internet searches for bus tickets and movies related to kidnapping on the day of her disappearance, doubts about her account grew. This shift in perspective caused her co-workers to transition from concern to anger, particularly because many had invested a considerable amount of time searching for her.
Additionally, the spa faced negative impacts due to its association with Russell, as it received hostile messages on social media and damaging one-star reviews. The owner had to take measures to manage the situation, such as disabling comments on their Instagram and Facebook pages.
Russell initially called 911 to report seeing a child walking along a highway, but she disappeared for two days before reappearing and claiming she had been kidnapped and held captive. The police found her belongings at the alleged abduction site but could not verify most of her statements.
Her former employer fumed that if her story is confirmed as a hoax, locals won’t be as quick to unite the next time a similar scenario emerges.
“I think it erodes faith for the next time, it erodes faith when people see somebody who’s been abducted and they’ve been put through this,” he said.
“They’re just not going to respond like they did, which is the worst part.”