Carlee Russell Lying Wasn’t the Worst Thing to Happen In That Fake Kidnapping

Adrian Sean
5 min readJul 25, 2023

Let’s be real; y’all were more worried about the toddler on the highway anyway

I like many others learned of the kidnapping/probably desperate cry for attention of Carlee Russell through TikTok on Friday, July 14th. The news immediately struck a concern in my heart. Unfortunately, I know several children and womxn who have been sucked into the life of trafficking; whether through kidnapping or coercion. My sympathies and prayers go out to anyone who has been taken into the life and to the many souls that never make it out.

But something that started off as a possible kidnapping turned quickly into something else. This case has been full of shocks and weird behavior from the start. Allow me to list the ways that the least of these was Carlee lying about being kidnapped all for the attention of a man.

  1. Carlee vs. The Toddler

There were a lot of moms sharing Carlee’s story. A lot of moms. As I said, I know people who have been trafficked, I know people who have gone missing. I unfortunately know what usually happens when a BIPOC vanishes. This wave of moms reaching out far and wide was new to me and something I’d never seen. Because, in my Kanye West voice, America doesn’t care about Black women. They just don’t. If Gabby Petito goes missing the story will not drop for weeks. God forbid if a Black or Indigenous womxn goes missing and isn’t found dead or alive within the first forty eight hours, if the public is even informed of the case at all, I doubt we’ll ever hear of it again.

This makes me wonder; if the story hadn’t gone viral with the implication that a baby was used as kidnapping bait, would y’all have really cared about a missing Black woman? In the two days of Carlee’s disappearance I noticed that many of the posts by moms and criminal sleuths didn’t give a description of her at all. Just going into vivid detail about the fact that a child was used to lure a woman into a trap. This of course is sad, but we as the public had no details on the possible child and had plenty of information on the very real and missing Carlee. Who exactly were the moms really trying to save?

2. The Takeback of Sorrows, Sorrows, and Prayers

Carlee came home like a cast member on Naked and Afraid. No signs of serious beatings or being held against her will with money in her sock to spare. The sus meter in the back of my head began to tweak a little bit but I still wanted to hold out hope. Maybe the kidnappers saw all the news coverage and got spooked? Knew they could get more money by claiming the reward versus tricking her out? A quick $50,000 is very tempting in this economy. Then Chief Nick Derzis of the Hoover Police Department changed all of that with five words last Wednesday:

Cannot confirm Carlee Russell’s claims.

I held in my breath as my heart sank watching the press conference. “They are trying to bury her”, I thought. And sure enough within a matter of minutes, there were trending memes and videos on the internet making fun of the fact that Carlee, to our knowlege at the time, had possibly lied.

Videos with people crying and cussing. Calling her everything but a child of God. Petitions on to have her charged. This rising influx of people screaming that they would never trust a flyer for a missing Black woman again. Or this is why people don’t take Black women seriously in the first place. In 2020 during the height of the pandemic, 90,333 Black womxn and girls were reported to be missing. In 2021 the number stayed around the same with 89,020 missing Black womxn and girls in the United States. Do these people think that all of those Black womxn, and all of the Indigenous womxn that no one is even counting, just lied?

I want to sit and explain the structure of racism. How not believing Black womxn is tied to how far in proximity Black womxn are from the ever-trusting and first-to-be-accepted cis-gender heterosexual white males of this world. How racism isn’t just lynchings and klans but believing stereotypes about darker-skinned ethnicities that put those people in harm's way. Racism says Black womxn are big-bootied ghetto baby mommas who lie to get child support and sugar daddies. Why should they be believed? However, y’all not taking the last three calm nerves I have.

Black womxn weren’t believed before Carlee Russell and in the week that has followed Black womxn haven’t been believed after.

3. The Thirsting over Carlee’s Boyfriend

Now we come to the reason this whole fake kidnapping possibly happened, Thomar Simmons.

I mean, my mom didn’t give me great eyesight however I’m not blind. I see the muscles and I see the smile. The man is fine. But what about this harrowing situation says now is the time to go after this man? Single, good-looking, employed, college grad and recent ex-girlfriend faked a nationwide kidnapping to possibly get his attention. Sounds like the perfect guy, right?

Simmons as recently as July 19th supported the Russell family and believed the story Carlee Russell had spun to garner him back into her arms. Making posts thankful for her return and claiming that Carlee had been ‘fighting for her life’. Later on the 19th very much like myself, Simmons doubted the sincerity of the kidnapping after the press conference with Chief Nick Derzis. Simmons deleted all posts and pictures on his social media from the past few days and any posts pertaining to Carlee during the length of their relationship.

It was like a shotgun went off to start a race. Thousands of womxn flocked to find him online. He had 14,400 followers one day, then 39,200, and now more than 63,000. His Instagram account is now verified with a blue checkmark. One must assume in order to gain some peace right now he turned off his comments on Instagram and Facebook. In the name of one Black man’s mental health let that man be people. He has been through a trauma. For two days this man thought she was possibly dead or kidnapped like the rest of us and worked tirelessly to find her. Pickings are slim but let’s give him some time before the songs in the DMs.

About an hour ago Carlee Russell officially released a statement that all the Twitter posts and TikTok videos were true; the whole kidnapping was fake and a lie. I’m disappointed in Carlee and yet I have empathy for her. Not because of what the impending will be, but because she felt the need to do this at all.

I mean, all this trouble possibly over a man? A MAN?! That doesn’t even claim your relationship and hasn’t taken you as his wife? I hope this possible jail time will give Carlee the space to do what a great singer once said; stop hallucinating over lame-ass nikkahs.



Adrian Sean