Ala. woman who vanished after claiming to see toddler admits to making the whole thing up

HOOVER, Ala. — Police said Monday that a 25-year-old woman who vanished after she claimed she spotted a toddler wandering on an Alabama highway has admitted she made the whole thing up.

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Carlee Russell called 911 to report seeing a child on the highway in Hoover, Alabama on July 13. She returned home two days later and claimed she had been abducted by a couple and held for a few days after she tried to help the child.


Investigators later determined that no one else had seen a toddler walking along on the road and that certain details about the case were not adding up, including searches on Russell’s phone on how to report an Amber Alert and on the movie “Taken.”

Police also said that in the time she said she was following after the child, cell phone records showed she traveled the length of six

On Monday, police held a news conference in which they read a statement prepared by Russell’s lawyer and read with her permission.

In the statement, Russell said there was no kidnapping and that she never saw a baby.

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“There was no kidnapping on 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 reported missing,” the statement from Emory Anthony read. “My client did not have any help in this incident.”

Emory Anthony said Russell was alone and not at a hotel during the incident.

“My client apologizes for her actions to this community,” the statement read. “We ask for your prayers for Carlee as she moves through her issues and are looking to move forward. She made a mistake in this matter. Carlee again asks for your forgiveness and prayers.”

Police said they have a meeting scheduled with Russell and her lawyer and they are in discussion with the district attorney’s office about potential charges and will announce when and if they are filed.

Police said they still don’t know where Russell was in the more than 48 hours she was missing. Police said that the only people who know her motive are Russell and possibly her lawyer.

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