Carlee Russell admits to making up Alabama kidnapping story
It was all FAKE! Carlee Russell reveals she made up kidnapping and seeing a toddler on side of Alabama interstate after over a week of lies: Cops weigh up criminal charges for wasting police time
- Carlee Russell, 26, was missing for 49 hours last week: she turned up on July 16 at her parents house and claimed she had been abducted
- Russell’s story slowly unravelled: police in Hoover, Alabama, said they were unable to corroborate her story that she saw a toddler wandering the highway
- On Monday, Hoover police chief read out a statement by Russell’s lawyer in which she said she had never gone missing, and she asked for apologies
A 26-year-old nursing student in Alabama who claimed she was abducted after spotting a toddler along the interstate admitted on Monday she made up the entire story.
Carlee Russell claimed that she was kidnapped on July 13 after she stopped to check on a toddler at 9:30pm. She turned up at her parents’ house 49 hours later and told police she had been abducted, spinning an elaborate story of fighting for freedom.
Yet on Monday, Hoover police chief Nick Derzis read a statement from Russell’s lawyer in which she admitted she had invented the story.
‘There was no kidnapping on Thursday, July 13,’ he said.
‘Carlee again asks for your forgiveness and prayers.’
Derzis said police are continuing to work on the case and prosecutors are still deciding if criminal charges should be filed.
There was no indication of any motive for her staging her disappearance, or any information on where she was for 49 hours. She said in the statement she was alone.
Carlee Russell, the nursing student in Alabama who claimed she was abducted after spotting a toddler along the interstate, admitted she made up the entire story
Nick Dervis, the Hoover police chief, is pictured on Monday revealing that Russell has confessed to inventing her abduction story
Russell stopped cooperating with police after returning home, but initially told police she was taken by a white man with ‘orange hair’ who appeared from the trees on the side of I-459 after she saw a ‘baby boy in a diaper’ walking along the road on Thursday at around 9.30pm.
On Wednesday, Derzis said that they had been unable to confirm Russell’s story.
It also emerged that Russell researched the Liam Neeson movie ‘Taken’ and whether she was too old for an Amber Alert, plus searched for a one-way bus ticket to Nashville.
Her boyfriend, Thomar Simmons, had initially been among those frantically searching for her and expressed his relief when she turned up – but after Wednesday’s press conference, he erased all trace of her on social media.
Russell’s family are not believed to have known about her scheme.
On July 17, the day after she turned up back at her parents’ house, they recalled how they found Russell in a ‘bad state’.
‘She fought for her life,’ said her father Carlos, a VP of underwriting for BBVA bank.
Russell left work at Woodhouse Spa in Birmingham, Alabama, around 8:20pm on Thursday, after stealing a bathrobe and toilet paper.
She then stopped to pick up food for her and her mother.
Russell travelled toward Hoover and called 911 at about 9:30pm to report the missing child wandering on the side of Interstate 459.
After calling 911, Russell reportedly called her sister-in-law to tell her she was going to check up on the child.
The family member lost contact with her at about 9:36pm but the line remained open.
Responding officers located Russell’s abandoned car along with her cell phone, her purse, wig and apple watch in the nearby area, but no sign of her or a child.
Hoover Police said they never received any other calls of someone missing a small child.
Two days later, Russell returned, alone, to her family’s home.
Derzis said it seemed there was a significant degree of planning.
‘This was an elaborate deal, when you talk about calling 911 and saying there was a child on the interstate,’ he said on Monday.
Derzis was unable to say how much the 49-hour search operation had cost, or whether she would be forced to repay the money.
Large numbers of volunteers, uniformed officers and K-9 teams searched for Russell for days, with helicopter support.
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