Carlee Russell admitted to Alabama police on Monday that her story about being abducted from the side of an Alabama interstate after seeing a baby on the side of the road earlier this month was a hoax.
Russell’s attorney, Emory Anthony, sent a statement to Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis on Monday, AL.com reported.
“My client has given me permission to make the following statement on her behalf: There was no kidnapping on July 13, 2023,” Anthony said in the statement. “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.”
Derzis read the statement during a news conference on Monday afternoon, WIAT-TV reported.
“My client was not with anyone or at any hotel during the time she was missing,’’ Anthony’s statement continued. “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.”
Russell, 25, originally called police on the evening of July 13, saying that she saw a child clad in a diaper on the side of the road on Interstate 459 near Hoover, Alabama. She returned to her home two days later.
Officials said surveillance video from Russell’s neighborhood in Hoover showed her walking down the sidewalk alone before she arrived home. She gave police a brief statement after she was taken to an area hospital.
Russell said that on the night of her alleged disappearance, a man emerged from nearby trees after she exited her vehicle to check on the baby.
“She claimed that the man then picked her up, and she screamed,” Derzis said during a news conference last week. “She stated he then made her go over a fence. She claimed he then forced her into a car, and the next thing she remembers is being in the trailer of an 18-wheeler.”
Anthony told AL.com that Russell said she was not at a Red Roof Inn, which had been reported on social media. He did not say where Russell was during the 48 hours she was missing.
No charges have been filed against Russell, but Derzis said police are speaking with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office about possible criminal charges, AL.com reported.
“We will announce those charges when, and if, they are filed,’’ Derzis said.
Derzis said there is a meeting scheduled with Anthony on Tuesday to further discuss the case, according to the news organization.
The police chief said he did not know why Russell fabricated the disappearance.
“I wish I could tell you,’’ Derzis said. “I think only Carlee knows, and maybe her attorney knows now.”
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