Carlee Russell has been formally charged by police in Hoover, Alabama, with two misdemeanors in relation to the orchestrated hoax. The police declared the charges this Friday, Your Content was first to report.
The charges were filed with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office in Bessemer, according to law enforcement sources.
Emory Anthony, a native of Birmingham, who served as Miles Law School dean, an assistant district attorney and municipal court judge, is representing Russell in the criminal case. He declined requests for comment when approached by Your Content.
Hoover Police Press Conference
Hoover Police Chief Nicholas C. Derzis revealed at a press briefing that an arrest warrant for Russell had been issued earlier in the day. Accompanied by her legal counsel, Russell turned herself into the Hoover City Jail where she faced the two misdemeanor accusations of delivering a false report to law enforcement and misrepresenting an incident.
Each charge has a set bond of $1,000 and could potentially lead to a one-year jail sentence and a $6,000 fine if Russell is convicted. After posting bond, Russell was released from the jail.
Chief Derzis expressed concern over the widespread panic that Russell’s actions caused amongst local citizens and across the nation. He emphasized that her false narrative incited fear of an at-large kidnapper using a child as bait, and caused distress to families who have genuinely suffered from kidnappings. Some of these families had even assisted in searches.
“Law enforcement agencies — both local and federal—looked for a kidnapper who never existed. As we know, actions can have consequences that’s why we’re here today. Carlee Russell turned herself into the Hoover City Jail through her attorney.” Chief Derzis said. “Judging from the amount of phone calls and emails we recieved throughout the country, people may be shocked and appalled that Ms. Russell is only being charged with misdemeanors.”
Russell’s confession to the concocted abduction came four days prior, through a statement made by her attorney and read aloud by Police Chief Derzis. It was stated that no abduction occurred on the mentioned date, that Russell did not encounter a baby on the roadside, and she never left the Hoover area when she was classified as a missing person. The statement clarified that Russell acted independently without any accomplices.
Russell’s falsified abduction managed to capture nationwide attention. She initially reported herself as missing after placing a 911 call on July 13, where she reported seeing a toddler in a diaper wandering on the side of Interstate 459 South.
Russell, aged 25, returned home on foot two days later, delivering a detailed narrative to police that she was kidnapped by a man with orange hair and a woman. She maintained that she was forced into an 18-wheeler truck and taken to a residence where she was coerced into undressing for photos.
On July 19, police reported that they had only managed to conduct a preliminary interview with Russell and were awaiting the opportunity for a more comprehensive interview to establish her movements during her alleged missing period.
Carlee Russell Saga
Russell, whose attorney confirmed she fabricated the kidnapping story, is now facing the legal consequences of her actions. It has been established that Russell acted alone, orchestrating the deception without any accomplices.
Russell’s attorney had previously released a statement, explaining that the alleged abduction involving Russell did not take place as she initially claimed. The account of a found baby was also disputed. Despite expressing deep regret and asking for forgiveness, Russell has now been charged in relation to the case. Her requests for prayers and understanding have been overshadowed by the unfolding legal proceedings.
The police’s decision to press charges comes after a period of deliberation and thorough review by local prosecutors.
The story garnered national attention when Carlee claimed she was abducted after finding a toddler on the side of the highway. She asserted she was thrown into a tractor-trailer and taunted by a man ‘with orange hair.’
The Carlee Russell case, which began when she was reported missing on July 15, 2023, has been a whirlwind. The saga started when Russell was said to have stopped to assist a toddler on an Alabama highway and continued when she was found and reunited with her family the next day.
The Hoover Police Department’s inability to verify her initial account sparked skepticism and led to the current charges against her.
Your Content’s National Correspondent Jonathan Lee Riches revisited the area where Carlee Russell was reportedly abducted,exploring the wooded area adjacent to the highway where Russell’s car was found abandoned on Interstate I-459 in Hoover, Alabama. The area, accessible from the highway shoulder, was the focal point of the investigation into Russell’s mysterious disappearance and subsequent return.