Carlee Russell case brings more attention to alarming rates of missing Black women

The case of a missing woman, Carlee Russell in Hoover, Alabama, garnered national attention over the weekend. She was found safe, but the case has also raised more awareness about Black women who are missing at alarming rates across the country. 

A local advocate says having a specific system in place to alert the community will help keep more Black women and children safe. 

Carlethia ‘Carlee’ Russell was reported missing on July 13 in Hoover after telling police and a family member that she stopped to help a toddler alone on the road. 

"Police officers who were already who were already in route to the location of the initial 911 call, located a female’s vehicle along with some of her belongings at the scene," said Lt. Danielle Lowe, Hoover Police Department.

After extensive national and social media attention, Russell safely returned to her family’s home 48 hours later. Police are still investigating and haven’t released details about what happened to Russell. 

"This has definitely opened a way and opened more of a conversation and awareness about this national epidemic of Black women and girls missing at a very alarming rate," said Iminah Ahmad, African American Female Excellence.    


Alabama woman who vanished after reporting child on side of interstate found safe

"Carlee" Nichole Russell returned home late Saturday night after a two-day search.

Oakland-based advocate Iminah Ahmad says hundreds of Black women and men are reported missing in Oakland each year. State Sen. Steven Bradford introduced the Ebony Alert bill or Senate Bill 673, in March hoping to implement a statewide system for missing Black women and children much like the Amber Alert. The City of Oakland has already adopted an Ebony Alert system. 

"They are encouraging first responders, law enforcement agencies and dispatchers to really put a high prioritization on Black women and girls as they become missing," Ahmad said.   

According to the Black and Missing Foundation, Black children are 38% of children reported missing. A recent human trafficking report also states that Black women make up 40% of sex trafficking victims across the country. Ahmad says raising safety awareness in Black communities is key.  

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"Being sure that when you’re walking in public, you’re not on your phone being distracted. You’re paying attention to your surroundings. You’re doing your best to be in tune and being good judges of people’s character as you come across them," Ahmad said.   

KTVU is also following the case of missing 19-year-old Martine Brown, a Black woman with disabilities. Her family says she was last seen June 29 at a bus station in Hagerstown, Maryland with an older man. 

Police believe he may have taken her to San Francisco. If you have any information, please contact Hagerstown or San Francisco police.