The New York Post reports the Woodhouse spa in Birmingham, Alabama has terminated the 25-year-old nursing student in the wake of her kidnapping story.
“It was really devastating for them thinking a co-worker was abducted,” Woodhouse owner Stuart Rome told the outlet. “The following day, Saturday, it was the busiest day of the week, and they had to plug along and work and in the off times pass out flyers and other things.”
According to Rome, Russell's colleagues believe they may have been duped by Carlee's story. Earlier this month, Russell went missing after allegedly finding a toddler wandering on the highway. Carlee returned home on foot last Saturday, July 15, about 48 hours after authorities and a family member last had contact with her.
“As the information came out that there were some questionable things, we’ve been a little pissed off, mainly because so many people took so much time out to search,” Rome shared.
On the heels of her return home, Russell's former employer has been victim to an onslaught of negative comments on social media due to the spa's affiliation with Carlee.
“Basically, we’ve spent the last day battling to get things deleted,” Rome said. “Comments. I’ve had to shut down my comment section on Instagram and Facebook page which hurts us because we do a lot of marketing there. We’re just trying to keep the doors open.”
According to authorities, who shared an update on the case earlier this week, Russell made several questionable internet searches that included "how to take money from a register without being caught," "you have to pay for an amber alert or search," and for the movie Taken, which features Liam Neeson's character trying to track down his daughter and her friend after they've been kidnapped.
Russell claims that she was kidnapped by a man after she stopped to check on a toddler that she saw on the side of the road. She said she was blindfolded, forced into a truck, and held at a home. Russell said she was able to escape after the supposed kidnapper attempted to move her to another location.