Carlee Russell faces possible charges that could land her in jail for kidnap hoax


Prosecutors in Alabama are considering charging Carlee Russell with two crimes that could land her behind bars for a year if convicted of faking her disappearance when she went missing for two days.

Russell could be charged with falsely reporting an incident and false reporting to law enforcement authorities, Jefferson County Chief Assistant DA Lane Tolbert told ABC News.

The class A misdemeanors ​are punishable by up to one year in jail, he said.

“We advise what we think the charges should be,” Tolbert told the outlet, adding that any criminal charges would be filed by the circuit clerk of Jefferson County, Bessemer Division’s office.

“We will announce those charges when and if they are filed,” he told Fox News Digital.

On Monday, Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said no charges had yet been filed against Russell.

Carlee Russell
Carlee Russell faces possible criminal charges that could land her behind bars for up to a year for her hoax about being abducted after reporting that she saw a toddler wandering along a highway.
Hoover Police Department

A spokesperson for the circuit clerk’s office declined to comment and the Hoover Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News.

The 24-year-old Alabama nursing student went missing at 9:34 p.m. July 13 after reporting a toddler walking along the southbound side of Interstate 459 near Birmingham.

She showed up at her parents’ doorstep two days later, after a frantic 49-hour search, and claimed she had been kidnapped by a white man with orange hair – only to later recant and admit she had concocted the bizarre story.

Scene of alleged abduction
Russell initially claimed that she was abducted from the side of a local highway on the night of July 13.

Police along Alabama highway
The 24-year-old Alabama nursing student remained missing for two days.
NBC News

Russell had searched for the kidnap action film “Taken” and AMBER Alerts during the odd saga.

After initially defending her from naysayers, Russell’s boyfriend released a statement saying that he was “blindsided” and “disgusted” by her actions.

Russell has been fired from her job at Woodhouse Spa in Birmingham amid the talk that she was lying about her alleged ordeal.

Carlee Russell
Carlee Russell
Hoover Police Department

Meanwhile, former FBI Special Agent Jonathan Gilliam told Fox News Digital that the woman could be on the hook for at least part of the cost of the law enforcement investigation into her disappearance – an amount he said could likely surpasses $100,000.

“You know, you’re looking at dozens of man hours plus the fact that somebody could get wrongly convicted or killed or, you know, so the cost and the safety of it adds up very quickly,” he told the outlet.


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