The Alabama attorney general criticized Carlee Russell for wasting time and resources after he charged her with two misdemeanors for filing a false report on Friday.
Nursing student Russell, 25, made headlines after she went missing during a 911 call on July 13, during which she reported finding a toddler by the side of the road. She now faces up to two years in prison and a $12,000 fine.
After coming forward two days later claiming an ‘orange-haired’ man had abducted her, she told police she had been kidnapped and told an elaborate story about her flight to freedom.
“We don’t consider this a victimless crime,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said at a news conference on Friday. “There are many hours spent, resources expended as a result of this investigation.”
She later admitted that she had made up the whole saga, confessing in a written statement that the kidnapping never happened and that it was “a mistake”.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall slammed Carlee Russell, his department charged her with two misdemeanor charges of filing a false report
Marshall said he intended to “fully prosecute” Russell and said his office would consider the police investigation to determine if additional charges were warranted.
His office was asked to handle the prosecution because of the attention to the case, according to Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis.
“This story has opened up wounds to families whose loved ones have really been abducted,” Derzis said.
“His decisions that night caused panic and alarm among the citizens of our city and indeed across the country, as concern grew that a kidnapper was on the loose using a small child as bait. “, he added.
“Numerous law enforcement agencies, local and federal, began working tirelessly to not only bring Carlee home to her family, but also to locate a kidnapper who we now know was never found. exist. Many private citizens volunteered their time and energy to search for a potential kidnapping victim who we now know was never in danger.
Russell, 25, was driving home from work in Hoover, Alabama on July 13 when she called 911 saying she had seen a toddler in a diaper on the side of the road.
She then called her brother’s girlfriend, claiming the same, and shouted into the phone.
The Russell family lives in an $800,000 house and has stable jobs – his mother is a real estate agent and his father is a vice president at a bank.
Carlee Russell smiled in her picture today after being arrested for faking her own kidnapping
Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis announces charges against Carlee Russell today
Why the spa therapist made up her story remains unclear.
There were rumors that she was trying to win back the attention of her boyfriend, whom she had recently separated from, when she staged the prank.
Russell was reported missing on July 13, after making a bizarre 911 phone call in which she claimed to have found a toddler on the side of a highway.
The boyfriend frantically demanded information when she disappeared, then quickly walked away from her when her story began to unravel.
Now there are also questions about whether she will have to repay the $100,000 that was spent looking for her.
Russell’s parents have yet to comment on her arrest and she has yet to explain why she lied.
In a statement, her lawyer said: ‘My client has given me permission 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.
DailyMail.com spotted members of Carlee’s family visiting a Wells Fargo ATM today to withdraw funds from her $2,000 bond
Relatives appeared to be in good spirits despite the looming charges against her
After Russell ‘disappeared’ on July 13, her ex-boyfriend Thomar Simmons (pictured together) posted frantic calls for information on social media, then posted a message of support once Russell returned home him. He has now spoken out to say he was ‘disgusted’ by his prank
“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.”