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Carlee Russell Confesses "There Was No Kidnapping" and No Toddler Along Interstate, Attorney Says
“My client did not see a baby on the side on the road,” read a statement from Carlee Russell's attorney, Emory Anthony.
Carlee Russell, the Alabama woman who disappeared for two days earlier this month after calling 911 to report a toddler on the side of the highway, has admitted that her kidnapping claims were fabricated and that she did not see a child along the road, according to a statement from her attorney.
In a press conference Monday, Hoover Police Chief Nicholas C. Derzis read a statement from Russell’s attorney, Emory Anthony, which stated that the 25-year-old nursing student was not abducted on July 13, when she seemingly vanished, leaving behind her car and personal belongings on the side of Interstate 459.
“There was no kidnapping,” the statement began.
While authorities made widespread efforts to find Russell over the 49 hours that she was purportedly missing, she never actually left the Hoover area and acted alone, according to the statement.
Did Carlee Russell apologize for faking her abduction?
“My client apologizes for her actions to this community, the volunteers who were searching for her, to the Hoover Police Department and other agencies as well, as to her friends and family,” Anthony said in the statement. “We ask for your prayers for Carlee, as she addresses her issues and attempts to move forward, understanding that she made a mistake in this matter. Carlee again asks for your forgiveness and prayers.”
Where was Carlee Russell during the time she was missing?
The statement from her lawyer did not mention where Russell was during the search for her, beyond saying she never left Hoover, Alabama. “We still don’t know where she was,” Police Chief Derzis told reporters Monday. “Only Carlee knows, and maybe now her attorney.”
Derzis said that Russell was scheduled to meet with investigators alongside her attorney Monday, but that Anthony provided a statement via email instead, on behalf of his client. Investigators are scheduled to meet with Anthony Tuesday.
Will Carlee Russell face charges for faking her abduction?
Police are consulting with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office about potential criminal charges against Russell, according to Derzis. “We will announce those charges when and if they are filed,” Derzis said.
The news of the hoax comes less than a week after Hoover Police held a press conference casting doubt on Russell’s story.
On July 13, Russell vanished after reporting to dispatchers that she saw a baby on the side of the interstate while she was driving home from work around 9:30 p.m.
When she returned home on foot two days later, she told police that she was kidnapped by a man and woman, who took her to a house and forced her to undress. She said she was then able to escape and made it home on foot.
Authorities said Wednesday they were unable to verify Russell’s story.
Questions emerged when investigators, with assistance from Secret Service, analyzed Russell’s cellphone records, which revealed suspicious searches about Amber alerts, one-way bus tickets and the abduction-focused film Taken, all conducted before she called 911.
“I do think it’s highly unusual... on the day someone gets kidnapped... that they’re searching the internet, Googling the movie Taken, about an abduction. I find that very strange," Derzis previously said.
During Monday’s press conference, Derzis did not provide an estimate of cost and resources spent on the search, but noted the effort was “all-hands-on-deck.”
What has Carlee Russell's boyfriend said since she admitted she lied about being abducted?
Thomar Latrell Simmons, who is now referring to himself as Russell’s ex-boyfriend, posted on social media that he was “blindsided” by the announcement that she was not actually abducted. “Carlee’s actions created hurt, confusion, and dishonesty,” Simmons wrote on Instagram.
He added that he and his family reacted with genuine concern when the news broke about Russell’s disappearance, according to the New York Post. “We are disgusted by the outcome of this entire situation,” Simmons wrote.