Jen Smith, Daily Mail, July 28, 2023
Carlee Russell grinned in her mugshot today after being arrested for faking her own abduction.
Russell has been charged with two misdemeanor charges of filing a false report. She now faces up to two years in jail and $12,000 in fines. She was released from jail today after posting a $2,000 bond.
Russell, 25, was driving home from work in Hoover, Alabama, on July 13 when she called 911 claiming she’d seen a toddler in a diaper on the side of the road.
She then called her brother’s girlfriend, claiming the same sight, and screamed down the phone.
She wasn’t seen again for two days, then turned up at her parents’ house with a cut lip and a tall tale about having been snatched by a man with orange hair who held her captive for two days before she managed to somehow escape.
Hoover Police then revealed the spa therapist’s incriminating Google search history that included the terms ‘do you have to pay for an Amber alert’ and research on the movie Taken.
A sheepish Russell went quiet, then admitted via her attorney to making the entire story up.
Today, Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis announced criminal charges against her.
The Russell family lives in a $800,000 house and hold steady jobs – her mother is a realtor and her father is a VP at a bank.
Quite why the spa therapist made up her story remains unclear.
There were rumors she was trying to win back the attention of her boyfriend, from whom she’d recently split, when she staged the hoax.
The boyfriend frantically appealed for information when she was missing then quickly distanced himself from her when her story started to crumble.
Now, there are also questions over whether she will have to repay the $100,000 that was spent in the search for her.
Russell’s parents are yet to comment on her arrest and she is yet to explain why she lied.
In a statement, her attorney said: ‘My client has given me permission to make the following statement on her behalf:
‘There was no kidnapping on July 13, 2023. My client did not see a baby on the side of the road. My client did not leave the Hoover area when she was identified as a missing person. My client did not have any help in this incident, but this was a single act done by herself.
‘My client was not with anyone or at any hotel during the time she was missing.
‘My client apologizes for her actions to the community, the volunteers who were searching for her, to the Hoover Police Department and other agencies, as well as to her friends and family.
‘We ask for your prayers for Carlee as she addresses her issues and intends to move understanding that she made a mistake.
‘Carlee again asks for your forgiveness and prayers.’