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Alabama police: Carlee Russell's lawyer says she was not truthful

Alabama police said Monday that Russell had retained an attorney as they read a statement saying she admits she created the story of her abduction.
Alabama police: Carlee Russell's lawyer says she was not truthful
Posted at 3:37 PM, Jul 24, 2023

Alabama police said on Monday that Carlee Russell confirmed she did not see a toddler on the side of the road, nor was she kidnapped. 

Hoover Alabama police held a press conference to update the public on their investigation, and read a statement from Russell's newly retained attorney describing how his client now admits that her claims never happened. 

Russell gained national attention when reports surfaced that she was abducted in an elaborate story that included trying to help a child on the side of a highway and being captured multiple times. 

Police said they are looking at possible criminal charges in the case and said they would announce those charges if they are filed. 

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Earlier, Scripps News reported that authorities in Alabama said they did not believe there was a threat to the public after Carlee Russell claimed she was abducted after checking on a toddler wandering down an interstate.

Russell called police and reported seeing a child walking alone on Interstate 459 in Alabama. The Hoover Police Department played the conversation she had with the dispatcher when she called 911.

"It doesn't look like he has any pants on, it looks like a diaper," Russell told the dispatcher at the time, who had asked what the child was wearing. After disconnecting with the dispatcher, Russell contacted a family member who reported that they heard Russell scream before losing contact with her.

She was not seen again until that following Saturday night when she returned home.

Police said on Monday they still did not know what happened to Russell or where she went during the 49 hours she was missing. Police said this has been an elaborate case and said they do not know if there are any mental health issues as a cause for the incident. 

Russell claimed a man forced her into an 18-wheeler. She claimed she was able to escape before being captured again and taken to a house where she was blindfolded and forced to get undressed. 

She said she woke up the next day and was fed cheese crackers by a female who was accompanying her male abductor. Prior to allegedly being abducted, Russell's financial records showed that she purchased cheese crackers and granola bars. Russell claimed she was able to eventually escape from captors after she was put in a vehicle. She said she walked through the woods and eventually made it home. 

"We know by her own admission that it didn't happen," Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said on Monday after reading a statement from Russell's lawyer.  

Russell was met by first responders and taken to a local hospital to be checked out.

According to the Hoover Police Department, investigators had no evidence that a toddler was walking down the side of the highway. They said there were no reports of missing children at the time and no one else reporting seeing the child on the busy interstate. 

Police said Russell searched terms like "do you have to pay for an Amber Alert" before going missing. 

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