Photography & Video Photography

Edye Russell lost nearly everything; now she's living in a car with a dead battery and no gas

The battery of her Chrysler conked out in the parking lot of the Carlsbad Senior Center, where Edye Russell dropped anchor almost three weeks ago. The gas tank is flat empty. One tire is low, and the air mattress leaks. Russell falls asleep hoping she’ll be safe through the night, and trying to figure out how to get back to the life she had.

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(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Edye Russell, 78, checks on her "children," her dogs Tippy and Chloe, in the parking lot of the Carlsbad Senior Center, where she is living in her car.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Edye Russell tries to fit all her belongings into her car before climbing in the back to sleep.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A sticker adorns Russell's window from her last job as a personal caregiver.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Russell walks Tippy and Chloe in the park. "It's been a great life, if you can endure it," she said.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Russell blocks out the car windows and rearranges her belongings to make room for sleeping in her car at the Carlsbad Senior Center.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Russell packs her belongings to make room for sleeping on her air mattress with Chloe and Tippy.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

After the senior center closed, Russell puts on a sweatshirt on a cool evening before crawling into her car to sleep.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Russell pumps up an air mattress on which she will sleep.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Russell awkwardly climbs through the back door of her car to sleep in the parking lot of the Carlsbad Senior Center.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Russell tucks into the back of her car to sleep in the parking lot.

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