Carlee Russell Admits Kidnapping Was a Hoax

Missing Alabama woman Carlee Russell's lawyer shared a statement on her behalf, in which she admitted there was no kidnapping that took place and that she never saw a child on the highway.

By Lindsay Weinberg Jul 24, 2023 9:33 PMTags
Watch: Carlee Russell Admits Kidnapping Was a Hoax, via Attorney

Carlee Russell is sharing the truth. 

The 26-year-old, whose 49-hour disappearance from an Alabama highway sparked national attention, has admitted she was not actually kidnapped.

The Hoover Police Department said she initially told them she had been kidnapped when they spoke to her following her return on July 15. However, Russell's attorney Emory Anthony provided a statement on her behalf to Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis that clarified her story, which he read at a July 24 press conference.

"There was no kidnapping on Thursday, July 13, 2023," the lawyer said. "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." 

Russell's attorney further said she didn't have "any help" during the incident. 

"This was a single act done by herself," Anthony's statement continued. "My client was not with anyone or any hotel with anyone from the time she was missing. 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, [and] to her friends and family." 

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The lawyer concluded, "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."

Hoover Police Department/ Facebook

The police chief said authorities have a meeting scheduled with her lawyer July 25, but have not yet been able to schedule a meeting with Russell and her family following her initial statement to detectives.

He added that authorities are looking into possible criminal charges related to this case, which he said they will announce "when and if they are filed."

Russell disappeared July 13 after calling 911 to report seeing a child in a diaper on the side of the interstate. When police arrived at the scene, both she and the alleged child were not found. Following an extensive search, she turned up at home two days later.

Hoover Police Department

At a prior press conference, Hoover police shared what Russell told investigators. 

"She told detectives that while traveling down the interstate, she saw a baby walking down the side of the road and called 911," the chief explained. "She said when she got out of the vehicle to check on the child, a man came out of the trees and mumbled that he was checking on the baby."

He went on, "She claimed that the man then picked her up and she screamed. 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."

Russell then detailed how she allegedly escaped captivity before running "through lots of woods until she came out near her residence," per police.

Hoover Police Department

However, authorities were not able to verify her story and found that she had Googled terms related to abduction before her disappearance. 

During the two days leading up to her vanishing, she searched the terms "do you have to pay for an amber alert or search," "how to take money from a register without being caught," "Birmingham bus station," "one way bus ticket from Birmingham to Nashville" and the Liam Neeson film Taken, according to police.

"There were other searches on Carlee's phone that appear to shed some light on her mindset," Derzis also noted, "but out of respect for her privacy, we will not be releasing the content of those searches at this time."

More recently, her boyfriend Thomar Latrell Simmons spoke out to ask that people "think about her mental health" and keep comments to themselves. 

"The only thing I can say is, I want everyone to stop bullying her," he told The New York Post July 22. "I know what it seems like what she did. Just stop bullying on social media."

Simmons added, "She doesn't deserve that. She doesn't. Nobody deserves to be cyberbullied." 

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