Carlee Russell’s attorney: ‘There was no kidnapping’

A woman who claimed earlier this month she was kidnapped after calling 911 and reporting a child wandering along Interstate 459 admitted via her lawyer to Hoover Police today that she made the whole thing up.

Carlee Russell, through her attorney Emory Anthony, released the following statement, which Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis read during a news conference at 4 p.m. Monday:

“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 the Hoover area when she was identified as a missing person. My client did not have any help in this incident; this was a single act done by herself. My client was not with anyone, or at any hotel with anyone, from the time she was missing.

“My client apologizes for her actions to this community, to the volunteers who were searching for her, to the Hoover Police Department and other agencies as well, 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.”

The conference was streamed live on Facebook, where it was watched by nearly 50,000 concurrent viewers.

Derzis said investigators are still working at determining Russell’s whereabouts during the 49 hours she was missing, and a meeting is scheduled with Russell’s attorney Tuesday to further discuss the case. Hoover Police do not yet have a meeting scheduled with Russell or her family, Derzis said.

She has not yet been charged with any crime, but charges could be coming.

“Anything’s on the table,” Derzis said, and Hoover Police is in discussions with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office about potential criminal charges related to the case.

The sad thing is, he said, is that there were so many people who got involved in the search for Russell, from law enforcement agencies to community volunteers.

“We wanted the focus to be on bringing her home. She got home. We’re very excited about that,” Derzis said. “It is what it is. The facts (that Hoover Police laid out July 19), I think it showed we knew it was a hoax.”



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