Russell was last seen playing in the sandbox in his family's fenced backyard at their residence at Lynch's Trailer Park on River Road in Wheatfield, New York at 12:20 p.m. on May 5, 1982. Russell's mother went inside their home to repair one of his toys.
She stated she was gone for less than five minutes, perhaps less than one minute. Upon her return outside, she discovered her son was missing. The gate in the fence was still closed and was locked from the outside. Russell has never been seen again.
The family's fence was four feet high, but one part of the fence was shorter than the rest, and the day before his disappearance Russell had climbed over the fence and gone to play in a neighbor's yard. It's possible he climbed over the fence again the afternoon he went missing.
An unidentified Caucasian male and female are wanted for questioning regarding Russell's disappearance. The couple was spotted in the area of the Russell family's home at the same time the child vanished. No one saw the couple interact with Russell and it is not known if they are connected to his case, but investigators would like to question them as possible witnesses, if nothing more.
The female had dark brown curly hair and was in her early to mid-twenties in 1982. The male had light brown hair and a mustache. He was in his late twenties to early thirties in 1982. The couple was seen riding in a white 1965 or older Corvette with a black convertible top. They were last seen in the area of Hyde Park Boulevard and Packer Road.
Some officials do not believe Russell was abducted; they think it more likely that he fell into the Niagara River, which runs only about 100 yards from his home, and that his body was swept away. However, there is no evidence to support this theory, only conjecture.
In 2005, a man from Texas contacted authorities and stated he believed he was Russell. The individual was adopted, and stated his adoptive parents gave evasive answers when he asked about his history. He decided he may be Russell after he saw the child profiled on a missing persons website. Authorities tested the Texas man's DNA against DNA from Russell's family, but the samples did not match.
Russell's case remains unsolved. Some agencies state that he disappeared from Niagara Falls, New York.
He is described as a 2-year-old Caucasian male whose height is 3'0 feet and his weight is 30 pounds. He has light brown hair and brown eyes. Russell has a small cleft in his chin and a small mole on the left side of his chin. His upper left front tooth was chipped at the time of his 1982 disappearance. His nickname is Russie. He was born on September 4, 1979 and he would be 41 years old today. He was last known to be wearing a faded brown plaid sunsuit over an old shirt, and beige knee socks. As of 2020, his case remains unsolved.