Carlee Russell admits ‘there was no kidnapping’ or baby on the highway in bombshell hoax confession
2023/07/24

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Alabama nursing student Carlee Russell admitted Monday that she wasn't abducted earlier this month — as she apologized for the bizarre hoax that sparked a massive two-day search.

"There was no kidnapping … my client did not see a baby," Russell's attorney Emory Anthony wrote in a statement read at a press conference Monday. 

Anthony's confirmation was read by Hoover Police Chief Nicholas Derzis. 

Neither Anthony nor Russell were in attendance.

"My client did not leave the Hoover area.My client apologizes for her actions to this community … Carlee asks for your forgiveness & prayers."

Russell, 25, disappeared on the night of July 13, shortly after she called 911 to report a sighting to a toddler wearing a t-shirt and diaper walking barefoot down 459 in Hoover.

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She initially told police she would stay at the scene, but then dropped off the grid when she was heard screaming during a bizarre call to her sister-in-law.

After a two-day search, the Alabama nursing student showed up at her parents' door on July 15.

She was taken to a hospital, where she was treated and released. She agreed to one police interview, but subsequently stopped cooperating with the investigation.

Derzis said Monday it's unclear where Russell actually was for the 49 hours she was reported "missing." 

No criminal charges have been filed at this time.

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After her return, investigators found that Russell googled the action film "Taken" – which stars Liam Neeson as a CIA agent racing to save his daughter from abductors – the day she disappeared.

Searches also revealed that Russell looked up one-way tickets from Birmingham to Nashville and whether victims have to pay for AMBER Alerts.

Russell, however, doubled-down on her story, and initially told police that she was abducted from the side of the road by a white man with orange hair, WESH reported.

The obvious flaws in the would-be victim's narrative were seemingly confirmed when she was fired from the Woodhouse spa in Birmingham and her boyfriend deleted all evidence of her from his social media.

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"We've been a little pissed off, mainly because so many people took so much time out to search," Woodhouse owner Stuart Rome told The Post last week of Russell's co-workers' reaction to her traumatic disappearance and reappearing act.

Russell stole a robe and toilet paper from the spa just a few hours before she went missing, police said.

She then stopped at a local Target store for snacks, which were not found in her vehicle after she vanished.

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"The only thing I can say is, I want everyone to stop bullying her. I know what it seems like what she did. Just stop bullying on social media," Russell's boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons, who previously defended her against detractors, told The Post over the weekend.

"Think about her mental health. She doesn't deserve that. She doesn't. Nobody deserves to be cyberbullied."

On Monday, Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama revealed that it would not refund those who contributed to the $63,378 donated during the search for Russell.

"This investigation is still ongoing, and accordingly, there is no basis to refund any contributions at this time.

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Furthermore, the Hoover Police Department has not requested for any donor contributions to be released or refunded," said the citizen sleuth group.

Bob Copus, the organization's executive director, told AL.com last week that some larger contributions had already been returned.

The $25,000 put up by the Birmingham Board of Realtors and the $20,000 offered by an anonymous donor were refunded, the outlet said.

In an emotional interview with NBC News last week, Russell's parents said their daughter "fought for her life" during her alleged ordeal and that she was "not in a good state" when she returned home.

Thus far, Russell's parents are not being charged in connection with their daughter's hoax, Derzis said Monday.

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