Carlee Russell is now admitting that her alleged kidnapping on July 13 was all a hoax. Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis held a press conference Monday to provide an update on the case which included the reading of a statement from Russell’s attorney, Emory Anthony.
“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 the Hoover area,” Anthony’s statement read.
Russell went missing on July 13 after making a call to 911 reporting that she saw a toddler walking alone along a busy interstate in Hoover, AL. By the time police showed up to the scene of the call, Russell was gone. Her car was left running and her cellphone and wig were left on the ground nearby. Family believed someone abducted her, possibly using the toddler as bait. Russell showed back up to her family’s home July 15 about 49 hours after going missing. Following her return, the public discourse shifted from concern to speculation. Many online, questioning if the disappearance was part of an elaborate hoax rather than an abduction.
Russell’s attorney is now saying, it was in fact an elaborate plan set in place by Russell and Russell alone.
“My client did not have any help. My client was not with anyone or at any hotel with anyone,” Anthony’s statement read.
Anthony’s statement also included an apology to the Hoover Police Department from Russell and a request for prayers.
“We ask for your prayers for Carlee as she addresses her issues and attempts to move forward,” the statement read.
Last week, Hooever Police released audio from the 911 call and cellphone search history made before Russell’s disappearance. According to police Russell searched, among other things, “do you have to pay for an Amber Alert” and the movie “Taken” which is about a woman being abducted.
Derzis says that while Anthony’s statement does answer some burning questions that the media and public have had since the incident, Russell’s motive for the hoax and her whereabouts during the 49 hours she was missing are still a mystery.
“[We have] no actual facts about where she was for 49 hours,” Derzis said.
The response to Russell’s disappearance was immediate and extensive both on the behalf of law enforcement and the community. Many on social media have expressed frustration and shared their disappointment surrounding the incident.
“The sad thing is that there were so many ppl that were involved took this thing very very seriously,” Derzis stated during the press conference.
Derzis says police are set to meet with Anthony in person Tuesday. He added that while they have requested a second interview with Russell, police have yet to speak with her again. He says, for now, he won’t speculate about what specific charges Russell could face but says they will be announced when and if they are filed.
Derzis also acknowledged the theorizing that has been happening online since Russell’s return. He hopes Anthony’s statement can ease some people’s minds.
“I’m glad that we received this hopefully puts some of the social media super sleuths to rest for a little bit,” Derzis said.