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On July 24, Carlee Russell, the Alabama woman who went missing for 48 hours after she reported seeing a toddler walking along the interstate, admitted to police that her kidnapping was an elaborate “hoax.” Now, the 25-year-old nursing student could face serious charges. 


At a press conference Monday, questions about Russell’s puzzling 48-hour disappearance came to a screeching halt when Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis read a statement from the Alabama native in which she admitted that her kidnapping was a complete farce. Emory Anthony, Russell’s attorney, sent in the shocking statement on the young student’s behalf Monday.

“Dear Chief Derzis, my client has given me permission to make the following statement on her behalf: There was no kidnapping on 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, but this was a single act done by herself,” Anthony penned, according to

The legal aid also denounced claims that Russell checked into a Red Roof Inn during her mysterious disappearance. “My client was not with anyone or at any hotel during the time she was missing,’’ Anthony continued. “My client apologizes for her actions to the community, the volunteers who were searching for her, to the Hoover Police Department and other agencies, as well as to her friends and family.”

Towards the end of the statement, Russell asked for the public’s “forgiveness and prayers,” as she continues to rectify her bizarre actions. “We ask for your prayers for Carlee as she addresses her issues and intends to move understanding that she made a mistake,’’ Anthony added. “Carlee again asks for your forgiveness and prayers.”

A motive for Russell’s fake kidnapping is still unclear. “I wish I could tell you,’’ Chief Derzis said when asked why she may have fabricated the entire incident. “I think only Carlee knows, and maybe her attorney knows now…it is what it is. We know that it was a hoax.”

The police chief added that he will be meeting with the local district attorney’s office July 25 to discuss possible charges, if any should be filed. 


At a press conference held July 19, Russell’s baffling disappearance came under scrutiny, when Chief Derzis revealed eyebrow-raising details about the alleged kidnapping and questionable evidence found on the nursing student’s iPhone.

After reporting a toddler walking along the I-459 highway in Hoover, Alabama, Russell claimed that she was abducted by a man with orange hair and a bald spot when she went near the child to check on their well-being, according to Derzis.

She claimed that her abductor forced her into a car and drove her inside the trailer of an 18-wheeler, where she heard a baby and woman, but she could not see them. Russell said she managed to escape from the trailer before being recaptured and taken to a house where her alleged captors forced her to strip nude and pose for photographs, the police chief said.

The female abductor fed her Cheez-Its before she escaped and safely returned home. According to Derzis, Russell had a minor injury on her lip and a torn shirt when she made it home on foot July 15.  They also found $107 in cash tucked in her right sock.

Russell’s story came into question when the Hoover Police Department reviewed her internet search history from a few days prior to the kidnapping. According to Chief Derzis, Russell searched for the Liam Neeson abduction thriller Taken, Amber Alerts, how to steal money from a register without getting caught, and one-way bus tickets to Nashville, Tennessee.

Well, now we know Russell’s story was a flat-out lie, but some folks are not happy with the 25-year-old. 

After the press conference, Russell’s ex-boyfriend, Thomar Simmons, issued a statement about the confession noting how he was “hurt” and  “blind-sighted” by her actions.

Netizens on the X app, formerly known as Twitter, worry that Russell’s fake kidnapping will deter police from responding to real missing cases involving Black women, an issue that is growing at an alarming rate in the U.S. In 2022, Black women and girls made up approximately 18% of all missing persons cases, despite accounting for about 7% of the population, according to data from the National Crime Information Center and U.S. Census Bureau.


See some of the reactions below.


RELATED CONTENT: UPDATE: Carlee Russell’s Boyfriend Thankful She Was Found Alive, ‘She Was Literally Fighting For Her Life For 48 Hours’

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