Carlee Russell Pleads Guilty, Gets Probation In Kidnapping Hoax

Photo: Hoover Police Department

Carlee Russell, the Alabama woman who faked her abduction, has pleaded guilty in the kidnapping hoax.

On Thursday (March 21), Russell pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanors, false reporting to law enforcement and falsely reporting an incident, in Jefferson County Court, per NBC News.

Russell’s plea came after Hoover Municipal Court Judge Thomas Brad Bishop found her guilty of the charges in October 2023, which sent her case to Jefferson County Court. Bishop recommended Russell spend a maximum of one year in jail and fines.

However, Judge David Carpenter told Russell Thursday, “It would be a waste of government resources to put you in jail.” Russell was given a year of probation, and 100 hours of community service and will have to pay $17,000 in restitution.

Russell first made headlines in July 2023 after she suddenly disappeared following a 911 call where she reported a child walking alone on the side of the highway. Russell previously claimed she was kidnapped after getting out of her vehicle to check on the child. She returned home on foot two days after her alleged abduction.

At the time of her return, Russell’s loved ones said she “was literally fighting for her life for 48 hours” and asked the public to give her grace until “she’s physically & mentally stable again.”

However, Hoover police later said they could not find any evidence of the child and couldn’t locate items Russell took from her job on the night of her disappearance. Authorities also revealed that Russell searched for information on Amber Alerts, bus stations, and how to take money from a register “without getting caught” just before her disappearance.

Russell ultimately admitted that she fabricated the entire situation, from the 911 call to her abduction. She broke her silence on the incident in court on Thursday.

“I want to genuinely apologize for my actions, and the resulting negative impact inflicted onto others. I made a grave mistake while trying to fight through various emotional issues and stress,” Russell said. “I’m extremely remorseful for the panic, fear, and various range of negative emotions that were experienced across the nation.”

“I want to to specifically acknowledge and take accountability for the pain and embarrassment that I inflicted upon my family, my church family, friends, neighbors, community, and all of those who were directly involved in search efforts for me,” she added.

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