Alabama police will announce an “update” this afternoon in the case of Carlee Russell, who may face charges.
Russell, 25, faked her own kidnapping earlier this month, claiming she was abducted from the freeway after stopping to help an abandoned child.
She admitted it was all a lie after returning home with a farcical story and no proof.
The Hoover Police Department will hold a press conference this afternoon to announce an update.
Russell’s attorney previously said he expected her to be charged over the prank.
She may now have to repay more than $100,000 for triggering a multi-agency search into her fake kidnapping.
Russell disappeared from a highway on July 13 and sparked a nationwide manhunt, which ended days later when she returned home alone to her parents with an outlandish and false story of being abducted by a man with “orange hair”.
The 26-year-old nursing student ‘disappeared’ around 9.30pm on July 13, baffling investigators as she appeared to disappear during a 911 call reporting a toddler on the side of an Alabama highway .
According to former FBI Special Agent Jonathan Gilliam, the frantic three-day search for her may have even seen law enforcement conduct other major investigations to join the manhunt.
And after the hoax kidnapping infuriated cops for wasting their time and resources, Gilliam told Fox News that Russell could be ordered to foot the bill.
“You know, you’re looking at dozens of hours of labor plus the fact that someone might be wrongfully convicted or killed,” he said. “The cost and safety of this add up very quickly.”
Police have yet to reveal the motive for Russell’s fake kidnapping, and the 26-year-old offered little information when she admitted to making up the whole story on Monday.
Former FBI special agent Jonathan Gilliam says Russell could be forced to pay more than $100,000 for the fake kidnapping
In a statement released by her lawyer, Russell confessed that “there was no abduction”, adding that she asks for “your forgiveness and your prayers”.
She called the prank a “mistake” and tried to apologize to law enforcement and volunteers who wasted their time searching.
But an apology is unlikely to do much to quell frustrations, with officials indicating Thursday that they could bring two charges against her for falsely reporting to law enforcement authorities and misrepresenting an incident.
The misdemeanor charges could potentially land her behind bars for up to a year, and Gilliam said any fines would likely depend on her income.
“If she works in some kind of massage therapy center, you know, she doesn’t make enough money to pay it all back. So she may be fined, but that will not be enough to reimburse the hours of work that have been used,” he said.
Emory Anthony, attorney for Carlee Russell, releases statement
“My client has authorized me to make the following statement on her behalf:
“There was no abduction on July 13, 2023. My client did not see a baby on the side of the road. My client didn’t leave the Hoover area when she was identified as a missing person. My client had no help in this incident, but it was a single act done by herself.
“My client was not with anyone or in any hotel for the duration of her disappearance.
“My client apologizes for her actions to the community, the volunteers who were looking for her, the Hoover Police Department and other agencies, and her friends and family.
“We ask for your prayers for Carlee as she addresses her issues and intends to understand that she made a mistake.
“Carlee again asks for your forgiveness and your prayers.”
Russell’s three-day disappearance has baffled officials, with the forger showing up at his parents’ home in a ‘poor condition’ and telling an outlandish story of being kidnapped by an ‘orange-haired’ man.
The 26-year-old said the “suspect” appeared from the trees on the side of I-459 after seeing a “little boy in a diaper” walking along the road.
She stopped cooperating with police shortly after telling police the big story, with Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis saying cops couldn’t confirm any details of her story and wanted to speak to her to clarify.
With officials insisting she sit down for a second interview, their scheduled meeting was cut short after her statement was read to the public instead.
Russell’s family are not believed to have known about his plot, but investigators have found suspicious background searches that suggest the prank was premeditated.
She had researched the Liam Neeson movie “Taken,” which is about an abduction, and she would have Googled if she was too old for an Amber Alert.
She had also looked for a one-way ticket to Nashville.
Her boyfriend, Thomar Simmons, was initially among those frantically looking for her and expressed relief when she arrived.
But after her press conference, he deleted all traces of her on social media.
He said he was “disgusted” by her actions and broke up with her soon after. Simmons has since asked the public to stop “harassing” her as her public humiliation drags on.
Russell with Simmons before she disappears. He has now erased all traces of her from his social media pages in a panel and said he was “disgusted” by her lies.
In a statement posted to his Instagram, Simmons said he was “blindsided” by the fake
Russell was reported missing on July 13, sparking a multi-agency manhunt that could now land her behind bars and slap her with a hefty fine
In the hours leading up to his disappearance, police said they were able to corroborate his movements until the fateful 911 call.
She had left her job at the Woodhouse Spa in Birmingham, Alabama, around 8:20 p.m. on July 13, after stealing a bathrobe and toilet paper.
Russell then stopped to pick up food for herself and her mother, before heading to Hoover – where she called 911 around 9.30pm to report the missing child wandering off the side of Interstate 459.
After calling 911, Russell allegedly called his sister-in-law to tell her she was going to watch the child.
Before disappearing, Russell flew into the spa, then bought Cheez-Its and granola bars at Target. Detectives believe she took the food with her when she disappeared.
Her phone, wig and Apple Watch were found in her car, along with take-out food she had ordered from a restaurant near her job. She had also walked 600 yards – the length of six football fields – while calling 911 claiming to be watching a little boy on the side of the road.
Hoover, Alabama police said on July 19 that they found no evidence to support those claims.
Russell, 26, is seen driving down the shoulder lane in her red Mercedes with the turn signals on. Police say she walked 600 meters before stopping – the distance of six football fields – and claimed the whole time she was looking at a toddler
Derzis said Monday there appeared to be a significant degree of planning in the elaborate hoax.
“It was an elaborate deal, when you talk about calling 911 and saying there was a kid on the freeway,” he said.
When asked why she did it, he replied, “I wish I could tell you. I think only Carlee knows, and maybe her lawyer knows now.
Derzis said they would ask Russell’s lawyer, Emory Anthony, for an opportunity to interview the student nurse, and said he was disappointed in his actions.
“The sad thing is there were so many people involved who took this thing very, very seriously and again we wanted the focus to be on bringing it home and she came home. We’re very excited about it,” Derzis said.
‘It’s like that. We know it was a hoax.