Police have revealed that Carlee Russell confessed to lying about being kidnapped earlier this month in Alabama and that she never witnessed a toddler wandering on the highway as she had previously claimed.
Around 9:30 p.m. on July 13, the nursing student from Alabama called 911 to report seeing a child wandering on Interstate 459 South. A family member told authorities they received a call from Russell soon after and could hear her scream before losing connection.
Police have previously noted they were unable to verify statements made by the missing woman after she returned home two days later, RadarOnline.com reported.
However, Russell’s family stood by her and insisted there was an abductor after speaking with Russell, who claimed to be traumatized in the wake of the ordeal.
Officials said they learned Russell made internet searches — from paying for Amber Alerts and how to discreetly take money from a register to information about the movie Taken — so investigators started to doubt the kidnapping case was legitimate.
On July 24, Russell admitted her story was fabricated amid an ongoing investigation into her whereabouts on the evening she went missing.
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At a July 24 press conference, Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said while reporting an update from Russell’s attorney, Emory Anthony, “My client has given me permission to make the following statement on her behalf. There was no kidnapping on Thursday, July 13, 2023."
Derzis also stated that Russell did not “see a baby on the side of the road” like she originally claimed and she never left the Hoover area “when she was identified as a missing person.”
Officials said Russell acted alone and did not involve her friends or family in the scheme.
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"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’s official statement continued, adding, "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."
On Monday night, Carlee’s former boyfriend, Thomar Simmons, posted a statement on Instagram saying he was “disgusted” with her after she finally confessed to faking her own abduction and he was “blindsided” by her lies, The Independent reported. He added, “Carlee’s actions created hurt, confusion and dishonesty.”
Derzis said charges would be announced if and when they are filed.
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