The 26-year-old turned herself into local authorities and was charged with false reporting to law enforcement authorities and falsely reporting an incident in connection to the kidnapping hoax on July 28, according to the Hoover Police Department in Alabama. She was booked and subsequently released from custody after posting bail.
In her mug shot released by police, Russell—clad in black with her hair straightened—was seen smiling for the camera.
During a July 28 press conference with Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, Hoover Police Chief Nicholas C. Derzis said authorities decided to charge Russell with two misdemeanors as her actions "created panic and alarm for the citizens of our city—and even across the nation—as a concerned group that a kidnapper was on the loose using a small child as bait."
Russell was reported as missing on July 13 after she called 911 as well as a family member to report seeing an unaccompanied child on an Alabama highway, sparking nationwide attention. The search for Russell came to an end on July 15, when she reappeared at her parents' Hoover residence alone and on foot.
She initially alleged that she was taken by a man and woman, who forced her into a car when she approached the child and held her captive, according to Hoover police. Authorities said Russell claimed she managed to escape when her purposted kidnappers were taking her through the west Hoover area, and that she ran through the woods until finding her way back home.
However, authorities were "unable to verify" most of what Russell told them during their investigation into her disappearance, Derzis said in a July 19 press conference. But, according to Derzis, they did find internet searches made on Russell's phone that were "very relevant" to her case, including queries about Amber Alerts and the 2008 film Taken, a Liam Neeson movie about an abduction.
"As you can see," Derzis said at the time, "there are many questions left to be answered, but only Carlee can provide those answers."
Russell owned up to faking her kidnapping on July 24, shortly before she was set to meet with detectives for a second interview. In a statement issued through her attorney, Russell confessed that there was "no kidnapping."
"My client did not leave the Hoover area when she was identified as a missing person," her lawyer Emory Anthony said in the statement, which was provided to Hoover police. "My client did not have any help in this incident. This was a single act done by herself. 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, as to her friends and family."
Russell also insisted that she did not have "any help" in the ruse.
"This was a single act done by herself," her attorney said in the statement. "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."
E! News has reached out to Russell's attorney for comment on her arrest but hasn't heard back.