Carlee Russell Charged After Admitting to Kidnapping Hoax

Carlee Russell booking photo. (Credit: Hoover Police Department)

Carlee Russell — the Alabama woman who gained national attention after claiming she was kidnapped for 49 hours and later admitted it was a lie — has been charged with two misdemeanor counts, the Hoover Police Department said Friday.

Hoover Police Chief Nicholas Derzis announced the charges against Russell, 25, at a news conference.

Derzis said Russell faces charges of false reporting to law enforcement and falsely reporting an incident. She surrendered to authorities at the Hoover City Jail after an arrest warrant was issued, and was accompanied her attorney.

Related: Carlee Russell Asks for ‘Forgiveness and Prayers’ After Admitting She Faked Kidnapping

The charges each carry a $1,000 bond, and could result in up to a year in jail and a $6,000 fine if she is convicted. According to Derzis, Russell was released from jail after posting bail.

“Her decisions that night created panic and alarm for the citizens of our city and even across the nation as concern grew that a kidnapper was on the loose using a small child as bait,” the police chief said. “The story opened wounds for families whose loved ones really were victims of kidnappings, some of which even helped organize searches.”

News of Russell’s arrest comes four days after she confessed to faking her kidnapping. Police received a statement from Russell’s attorney, which Derzis read to reporters on July 24.

“There was no kidnapping on Thursday 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,” the statement  said. “My client did not have any help in this incident. This was a single act done by herself.”

Related: Carlee Russell Searched Internet for ‘Taken’ Movie Just Before Disappearance

Russell’s disappearance captured the attention of the nation when she went missing on July 13.

That evening, she placed a call to 911 claiming she saw a toddler in a diaper wandering on the side of Interstate 459.

Two days later, she returned home on foot. She told authorities she was abducted by a man and a woman who approached her on the side of the interstate.

Police brought in the Secret Service to assist in the case. Investigators soon discovered that Russell had made recent internet searches for the movie Taken, starring Liam Neeson. Russell also looked up information on Amber Alerts and searched for one-way bus tickets out of Alabama prior to her disappearance.