‘Still angry’: Brother of Black woman missing for over a year reacts to Carlee Russell kidnapping hoax

The family of Alexis Ware said she is still missing after the disappearance of Carlee Russell was proved a hoax. (SOURCE: WIS)
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 5:42 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS/WHNS/Gray News) - The brother of a South Carolina woman last seen over a year ago is sharing his thoughts about the story of 25-year-old Carlee Russell.

WIS reported Monday that Russell did not tell the truth about being abducted when she stopped her car to talk to a toddler walking along a busy highway in Alabama.

Travis Ware said Russell’s omission is raising concerns about whether the real stories of missing Black women will be taken seriously, like the case of his sister, Alexis Ware.

The Ware family said Russell should serve jail time for wasting resources over a fake missing person’s case and that they wished there were more resources put toward finding Alexis Ware.

“I’m still angry at the situation,” Travis Ware said. “For Carlee Russell to actually do this and all these resources, all this time, all this money not only that law enforcement put in but also the community, it pissed me off to be completely honest.”

Alexis Ware was last seen in January 2022 after she dropped her two children along with their father at a gas station in Anderson County.

Police said they later found her car with all of her belongings, but there was no sign of Alexis Ware.

The father of Alexis Ware’s children was considered a person of interest because he was the last to see her. After investigating, however, authorities determined he had no involvement in her disappearance, WHNS reported in January.

The FBI has taken over the case since then, but the Ware family has continued to look for answers on their own.

“Her mother, our dad, and most importantly her kids are the most impacted by this,” Travis Ware said. “We’ve been reaching out to local media partners and national and even the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department to get some type of answers.”

While the family continues searching for answers, Travis Ware said he felt Russell’s case took attention away from his sister.

Sgt. Vicki Rains works with the Victim Service Unit at the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. She said the initial details of Russell’s disappearance made it a high-priority case, and that a lot of resources go into investigating any missing person case.

“Yes, it does take attention away from other cases because that’s what we considered a high-priority case,” she said. “We go out, the whole victim services team is out. We call the dogs in typically we would have the drone and air support like a helicopter.”

According to police, officers work around the clock to locate the missing person.

Travis Ware said the discovery of Russell’s case as being a hoax has reignited the interest in his sister’s case, however.

“When Carlee Russell did go missing, and it did turn out to be a hoax, a lot of people did draw back attention to my sister’s case. Like this is the case we should be focused on,” he said. “A Black missing female that’s still missing in real life and real-time. This is what we need to draw our attention back on. So, recently we just started getting more awareness and attention, media-wise. So, it has helped.”

Unfortunately, Travis Ware said there have not been any new updates to his sister’s case.

The Ware family is currently waiting to hear back from the attorney general on whether their office will take over the case.

According to the Black and Missing Corporation, Alexis Ware is one of more than 200 thousand Black people currently missing in the nation.