The full confession from a Black woman who admitted to faking her own kidnapping while going missing in Alabama July 13 for more than two days has shifted attention to the state’s laws and any potential legal ramifications as law enforcement officials meet to discuss her fate.
The police chief in Hoover and the local district attorney have been “in discussions” over Carlee Russell’s disappearance that prompted national media attention to what turned out to be a ruse, AL.com reported. Russell’s actions which included calling 911 with the false report of a toddler walking alongside a busy highway could result in criminal charges.
Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said Monday that he and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office in the Bessemer Cutoff “will announce those charges when, and if, they are filed.’’
AL.com reported that Russell could face up to a year behind bars if she is charged with and convicted of the following offenses:
Based on what has been said of the case, Russell could potentially be charged with false reporting to law enforcement authorities or falsely reporting an incident.
Under state law, one is guilty of the Class A misdemeanor of false reporting to law enforcement authorities if he or she “knowingly makes a false report or causes the transmission of a false report to law enforcement authorities of a crime.”
Under another section of Alabama law, a person commits the crime of falsely reporting an incident if “he or she initiates or circulates a false report or warning of an alleged occurrence.” Falsely reporting an incident is also a Class A misdemeanor.
Class A misdemeanors are punishable by not more than one year in a county jail or a year of labor in the county, according to state statutes.
The attention to Russell’s legal fate came Monday after Hoover Police held a second press conference updating the public on the controversy surrounding Russell.
Via statement sent to Derzis, Russell’s attorney, Emory Anthony, stated the following:
“Dear Chief Derzis, 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,’’ Anthony wrote. “My client was not with anyone or at any hotel during the time she was missing.”
In the statement, Russell’s attorney said his client wished to issue a public apology and planned to “address her issues” surrounding the events that captured the nation’s attention.
“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.”
On July 13, Carlee disappeared after calling 911 to report a missing toddler walking along I-459. She was driving in Hoover, a city just a few miles south of Birmingham, Alabama. According to the police, Carlee called a family member after she reported the lone toddler, but when she went to check on the missing child, she lost contact with her family member. According to a report issued by the Hoover Police, Carlee let out a scream before the call dropped. Officers arrived at the scene to find the 25-year-old’s vehicle with all of her belongings inside, but Carlee and the child were nowhere to be found. Before the incident, police did not receive any reports about a missing child along the interstate.
Miraculously, on July 15, authorities were notified that Carlee had returned home on foot. She was taken to UAB hospital for an evaluation, treated and released.
Four days later Hoover Police held their first press conference, which you can watch below, surrounding the bizarre disappearance.
Authorities presented some surprising facts, including a report that prior to her alleged abduction, Russell used her phone to search for information about Amber Alerts and Taken, the blockbuster film starring Liam Neeson about a pair of women that are kidnapped by human traffickers.
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