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Carlee Russell found guilty of falsely reporting fake kidnapping

Russell, 26, ordered to pay more than $18,000 in fines and restitution

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 12 October 2023 00:34 BST
Carlee Russell charged in kidnapping hoax

Carlee Russell, the 26-year-old Alabama woman who claimed she went missing and later alleged that she had been kidnapped, has been convicted of false reporting.

Russell was found guilty of filing a false police report and falsely reporting the incident by a judge on Wednesday and will have to pay more than $18,000 in fines and restitution, reported WBRC.

The nursing student falsely claimed to have seen a child walking along I-459 before she went missing on 13 July. She showed up at her home in Hoover, Alabama, on 15 July and told investigators that she had been abducted.

After police investigated her claims she admitted she had made the whole bizarre incident up.

Judge Brad Bishop ordered Russell to pay $831 for each misdemeanour charge, and more than $17,000 in restitution. The state had asked for Russell, who has appealed the decision, to serve one year in jail.

During the investigation, police say Russell used her phone to search the term “Do you have to pay for an Amber Alert?”, the movie Taken, and the “price of bus tickets from Birmingham.”

After her arrest, Russell admitted through her lawyer Emory Anthony that she had made the whole incident up.

“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, but this was a single act done by herself,” a statement read.

“My client was not with anyone or in a hotel with anyone during 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.”

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