Alabama Woman Sentenced After Faking Kidnapping

( – Carlee Russell, a woman from Alabama who faked her own kidnapping, has received a suspended sentence and an $18,000 fine after pleading guilty to two counts of filing false reports. Russell was also sentenced to a year of probation and 100 hours of community service during a hearing on Thursday, March 21.

Russell’s fake story began when she called the police in July 2023, telling the dispatcher that a toddler was wandering by a busy highway. She then seemingly vanished for two days, claiming she had been abducted. She eventually gave up her story and admitted to law enforcement that she faked the entire thing.

Before she “disappeared”, Russell took her belongings and money from her workplace and went shopping. Then she called 911 to report the sighting of a child while she was driving on Interstate 459 in Hoover, Alabama. After two days, she reappeared at her parents’ house, from where she was immediately taken to a local hospital.

Russell claimed that when she was trying to check on this toddler a man abducted her, blindfolded her, and held her captive in a tractor trailer. She said that she escaped him by running through the woods to her home. This story, as she eventually confessed, was completely made up.

During the hearing, prosecutors requested jail time for Russell. They emphasized the resources spent on the investigation, her failure to provide a full account on where she actually went during her time “missing”, and the reason for faking this kidnapping.

In court, Russell expressed remorse and apologized for the panic and fear caused by her actions. She claimed she did not mean to harm anybody or make anyone panic.

Despite her apology, Hoover police chief Nick Derzis expressed disappointment with the outcome. He noted that the investigation into her disappearance was a big waste of money, costing nearly $50,000.

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