Police in Hoover, Alabama announced that days after a woman was found safe after she was allegedly kidnapped after stopping to help a toddler walking along the highway, the woman has now admitted she was not abducted. During a press conference Monday afternoon, Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis read a statement from Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell’s attorney, Emory Anthony, who said that the 25-year-old woman was not abducted the night of July 13 as she and her family had previously reported, and that she had not seen a child walking along I-459 the night she disappeared.
The statement read by Russell’s attorney read: “My client has given me permission to make the following statement on her behalf. There was no kidnapping on Thursday, July 13, 2023. My client did not see a baby on the side of the road. My client did not leave Hoover area when she was identified as a missing person. My client did not have help in this incident, that 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. 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.”
Russell ‘disappeared’ after calling 911 on the night of July 13 after telling a dispatcher that she stopped along I-459 on her way home from work after seeing the toddler walking by himself in a diaper along the highway. However when officials arrived on the scene, they found Russell’s car still running with her belongings inside, but she was nowhere to be found. After a statewide search that lasted over 48 hours, Russell was found on July 15 after reportedly walking home. Police said they were “unable to verify” her claims about a missing toddler and other key details from the 911 call.
Chief Derzis told reporters at Monday’s press conference that, “We knew it was a hoax. I’m glad we got this [referring to Russell’s statement]. We certainly laid the facts out to you guys. The sad thing is, there were so many people that were involved and took this thing very very seriously, we wanted the focus to be bringing her home, we’re excited about that.” Derzis said police would be meeting with Anthony and that charges against Russell would be announced when and if they were filed. No motive for Russell’s false abduction report were revealed.
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