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Carlee Russell smiles in mug shot as she’s charged with false police report in kidnap hoax

Alabama woman Carlee Russell facing two misdemeanour charges in Jefferson County after confessing to wild abduction story was lie Hoover Police announce at press conference

Ariana Baio,Andrea Blanco
Saturday 29 July 2023 15:07

Carlee Russell: Police give timeline of disappearance

Carlee Russell wore a big smile when she had her mug shot taken as she was charged with two misdemeanour counts for faking her own disappearance and kidnapping in Alabama.

An arrest warrant was issued Friday, on charges of false reporting to law enforcement authorities and falsely reporting an incident.

Ms Russell was released from jail later that day after posting bond, her lawyer said.

The Alabama woman “disappeared” on the evening of 13 July after calling 911 claiming she was stopping to help a toddler walking alone on Interstate 459. She returned home two days later and claimed she had been kidnapped and barely managed to escape.

Police revealed last week they were unable to verify many of Ms Russell’s claims and pointed to her “relevant” internet history which included searches for Amber Alerts and the movie Taken.

Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis told local WVTM 13 that investigators had sussed out the hoax long before her confession.

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Carlee Russell’s ex-boyfriend is ‘disgusted’ with her after she admitted to lying about abduction

Carlee Russell’s former boyfriend has said that he is “disgusted” with her after she finally confessed to faking her own abduction.

Thomar Simmons posted a statement on Instagram on Monday night where he slammed his 25-year-old former girlfriend and said that he – like the wider public – had been “blindsided” by her lies.

“Carlee’s actions created hurt, confusion and dishonesty,” he wrote.

“I was made aware of the false narrative after coming to the defense of my ex Carlee Russell. Myself and my family’ nature was to react in love and genuine concern. We are disgusted [by] the outcome of this entire situation.”

He added: “I strongly feel exactly like you all – blindsided with Carlee’s actions.”

Rachel Sharp reports:

Carlee Russell’s ex-boyfriend is ‘disgusted’ after she admitted abduction lies

Thomar Simmons slammed his 25-year-old former girlfriend and said that he – like the wider public – had been ‘blindsided’ by her lies

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 10:00
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Watch: Carlee Russell's attorney says she faked kidnapping

Carlee Russell's attorney says she faked kidnapping
Ariana Baio27 July 2023 11:00
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Carlee Russell’s mother stays silent on abduction hoax

Carlee Russell’s mother has fallen silent after her daughter admitted she faked her own abduction.

On Tuesday, Ms Russell released a statement through her lawyer where she confessed that her kidnapping was all a lie.

During the two days she was missing, her mother Talitha Robinson-Russell pleaded for her safe return.

In the wake of her reemergence, she defended her daughter amid rumours that her abduction wasn’t all it seemed.

“There were moments when she physically had to fight for her life, and there were moments when she had to mentally fight for her life,” she told NBC’s Today show last week.

But, on Monday, after Ms Russell’s deception was confirmed, Ms Robinson-Russell refused to comment.

“Now is not a good time,” she told The New York Times.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 12:00
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Will Carlee Russell face criminal charges over fake kidnapping?

Police in Hoover, Alabama say they have confirmed their suspicions that Carlee Russell made false claims that she was kidnapped after pulling off to the side of the road while reporting a toddler was walking alone.

Hoover Police Department Chief Nicholas Derzis said on Monday Ms Russell has admitted to lying about her supposed abduction in a statement she provided through her attorney.

“There was no kidnapping on Thursday, July 13. My client did not see a baby on the side of the road,” the statement read, according to Chief Derzis, who read it at a news conference. “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.”

The bizarre scandal has led to questions about whether the Alabama woman may face charges.

Ariana Baio reports:

Will Carlee Russell face criminal charges?

Alabama police say there was ‘no evidence’ to Carlee Russell’s report of a toddler walking along the interstate alone

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 13:00
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ICYMI: What did Carlee Russell originally tell police?

Carlee Nichole Russell gained national notoriety this month after she falsely claimed she was abducted on 13 July after calling 911 to report she had seen a toddler walking on the side of Interstate 459 in Alabama.

The 25-year-old stopped her car to check on the child and called a family member before losing contact, she initially told the Hoover Police Department. By the time officers arrived five minutes later, Ms Russell had faked a disappearance, with her car engine still running, and the toddler was nowhere to be found.

When Ms Russell returned on 15 July, she gave a statement to police where she outlined a tale of a horrific kidnapping, which her lawyer now says was false.

Ms Russell initially said after she came across a young boy walking along the side of the highway alone she pulled over and called 911. After that, she called her brother’s girlfriend. During the conversation, she claimed a man with “orange hair” emerged from the woods and picked her up and forced her into a vehicle.

She claims the toddler was used as bait.

Ms Russell said the man then put her into the trailer of a tractor-trailer and drove her to an unknown location where he forced her to undress and took photos of her. She said the man had a female accomplice who fed her cheese crackers.

Eventually, her story went, the kidnappers put Ms Russell in another vehicle, which Ms Russell escaped from and ran home.

Police have been unable to verify nearly all of Ms Russell’s claims.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 13:30
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Crime stoppers refunding $63k in reward money

The Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama will be refunding the $63,378 that was donated during the search for 25-year-old Carlee Russell.

“We are releasing all funds,’’ Bob Copus, executive director of Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama, told AL.com on Tuesday. “We’re basing that on the statements made at the news conference.”

More than $60k was donated in the 49 hours that Ms Russell went ‘missing’ at the beginning of July.

Police and Ms Russell’s attorney revealed on Monday that Ms Russell faked her disappearance and lied about being kidnapped.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 14:00
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Before Carlee Russell admitted to elaborate hoax, a mother said she ‘disrespected’ parents of murdered victims

Before Carlee Russell admitted to an elaborate hoax, a mother said she ‘disrespected’ parents of murdered victims

A mother in Alabama whose daughter was murdered has spoken out against Carlee Russell, saying her fake kidnapping story was “disrespectful” to parents who have lost a child.

Shea Wardrup Pilkington-Wiley posted on Facebook last Wednesday describing how Ms Russell’s case brought back the same “sickening feelings” she felt when her daughter, Madison Pilkington, was murdered.

Mother of murder victim says Carlee Russell ‘disrespected’ parents with lost children

Police and members of the community spent 49 hours looking for Carlee Russell, who admitted she wasn’t actually missing

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 14:30
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Attorney for Carlee Russell says she is ‘dealing with her issues'

An attorney representing Carlee Russell has said he expects her to be charged over false claims that she was abducted.

Emory Anthony told local news station WDHN that he had met with Hoover Police Department detectives to discuss his client’s case. Mr Anthony said that Ms Russell was better but still “dealing with her issues.”

“It was a great meeting; It was a short meeting,” Mr Anthony said. “We tried to identify some things about where we go from here. There [are] responsibilities that we need to take care of.”

Mr Anthony’s remarks come just a day after authorities confirmed that Ms Russell, 25, had admitted to lying about being kidnapped on the side of a highway after stopping to check on a toddler. The attorney did not elaborate on what motivated Ms Russell’s fake story.

He added: “I know you have a hundred questions but we won’t be able to answer them at this point in time, but just walk with us and we should be through this shortly ,” Mr Anthony said.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 15:00
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Advocate urges others to not let Carlee Russell case impact future missing people

Derrica Wilson, the co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, has urged the public to not let Carlee Russell’s fake kidnapping story impact how we share stories of missing Black people.

“At the onset of this case, it seemed credible,” Ms Wilson told WVTM 13. “As a former law enforcement and investigator and official, you want to follow up on these cases. And again, they’ve done an incredible job of coming through with the investigative process.

“Sadly, this is the outcome.”

However, Ms Wilson is encouraging others to not let Ms Russell’s anomaly of a case prevent people from finding missing people.

Ms Wilson said that nearly half of the people reporting missing per year are people of color.

Around 90,000 of the 500,000 reported missing are Black women.

“The numbers are alarming,” Ms Wilson said. “Again 40 per cent of missing persons in the United States are persons of color.”

“We just want our community to not lose hope,” she added.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 15:30
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Carlee Russell’s attorney expects her to be charged over fake disappearance

An attorney representing Carlee Russell has said he expects her to be charged over false claims that she was abducted.

Emory Anthony told local news station WDHN that he had met with Hoover Police Department detectives to discuss his client’s case. Mr Anthony said that Ms Russell was better but still “dealing with her issues.”

“It was a great meeting; It was a short meeting,” Mr Anthony said. “We tried to identify some things about where we go from here. There [are] responsibilities that we need to take care of.”

Mr Anthony’s remarks come just a day after authorities confirmed that Ms Russell, 25, had admitted to lying about being kidnapped on the side of a highway after stopping to check on a toddler. The attorney did not elaborate on what motivated Ms Russell’s fake story.

He added: “I know you have a hundred questions but we won’t be able to answer them at this point in time, but just walk with us and we should be through this shortly,” Mr Anthony said.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 16:00

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