Carlee Russell Woman Who Faked Her Kidnapping Faces Jail Time And $18K Restitution

by Gee NY

HOOVER, Alabama — A young nursing student who admitted to faking her kidnapping was found guilty of two separate misdemeanors on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023.

Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell on July 13 made up a story of seeing a toddler by the side of the road and then being kidnapped.

She called 911 that she had seen a toddler walking along the side of Interstate 459. After the police responded to the emergency call, they found Russell’s car on the side of the I-459 with her abandoned phone. reported at the time that Russell, 25, was driving home from work in the evening when she called police to report that she had spotted a child on the highway and then called a family member to inform them that she would stop to help the child.

Police then began a statewide search for the presumed missing person, and offered a $60,000 reward for her return.

But two days later, on July 15, Russell returned late in the evening to her parents’ home in Alabama. The Russell family then called the police after her reappearance, and the authorities then arrived at the home shortly after.

After police found out that her story did not add up, she admitted to faking the whole incident.

The following week on July 24, Russell released a statement with her attorney that she had staged the kidnapping.

Hoover Chief of Police Nick Derzis shared the admission on behalf of Russell’s attorney during a press conference.

“There was no kidnapping on Thursday, July 13. 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, that this was a single act done by herself,” her attorney wrote.

On July 28, Carlee Russell was charged with two misdemeanors — false reporting to law enforcement and falsely reporting an incident — after orchestrating the kidnapping hoax.

Under Alabama law, Russell could face one year in prison, six months for each charge, plus a fine of $831, as well as restitution in the estimated amount of $17,974.88.

Following the ruling on Wednesday, Russell’s legal team, led by attorney Emory Anthony, said he would appeal the case to the circuit court, where it would be heard anew by a jury.

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