Carlee Russell jail charges update: Alabama police ‘pretty much’ knew abduction story was a lie from start

Carlee Russell’s mom speaks up

Alabama police have revealed that they “pretty much” knew Carlee Russell’s abduction story was a lie ever since she suddenly returned home after a 49-hour disappearance.

Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis told local WVTM 13 on Wednesday that investigators had sussed out the hoax long before her confession when officials gave a press conference revealing glaring holes in her story.

“It is what it is,” he said. “The fact that I think last Wednesday pretty much showed that we knew that it was a hoax.”

The 25-year-old disappeared on the evening of 13 July after calling 911 and claiming she was stopping to help a toddler in diapers who was walking alone on Interstate 459. She returned home two days later and claimed she had been kidnapped and had barely managed to escape.

On Monday, Chief Derzis said that Ms Russell’s attorney, Emory Anthony, had provided a statement in which she admitted the abduction was a lie.

Now, Ms Russell is expected to face criminal charges over the hoax. On Tuesday, Mr Anthony met with detectives to discuss his client’s case and, following the meeting, said that he was expecting charges to be filed against her.


Timeline of Carlee Russell’s hoax abduction

7.30am: Ms Russell searches for “Do you have to pay for an Amber Alert”.

1.03am: Ms Russell searches for, “How to take money from register without being caught Reddit”.

2.13am: Ms Russell searches for, “Birmingham bus station”.

2.35am: Ms Russell searches for, “One-way bus ticket from Birmingham to Nashville” departing 13 July.

12:10pm: Ms Russell searches for the film “Taken”.

Ms Russell also searched for more information about Amber Alerts while at her workplace including one about the maximum age for an Amber Alert to be issued.

8.20pm: Ms Russell leaves her workplace, Woodhouse Spa. She is seen concealing a dark bathrobe, toilet paper and other items.

She then picks up dinner from a local restaurant and drives to Target where she purchases snacks.

9.21pm: Ms Russel leaves the shopping center parking lot and begins driving down the interstate.

9.34pm: Ms Russell calls 911 and reports a toddler walking along Interstate 459 alone and without pant or shoes.

Data shows Ms Russell drove 600 yards while on the phone with police, claiming she pulled over to assist the child.

After the 911 call, Ms Russell called her brother’s girlfriend.

9.36pm: Ms Russell goes missing.

9.40pm: Police arrive on scene.

7am: Russell family begins searching for Ms Russell

Searches continue all day and night until the following evening.

10.45pm: Ms Russell returns home on foot. Surveillance footage shows her walking on the sidewalk alone.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 09:00


Alabama police ‘knew’ Carlee Russell’s story was ‘a hoax’

Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis made it clear in his press conference last Wednesday that there was something suspicious about Carlee Russell’s kidnapping story.

“The fact that I think last Wednesday pretty much showed that we knew that it was a hoax,” Mr Derzis told local news outlet WVTM 13.

Mr Derzis told reporters that authorities were “unable to verify” many of Ms Russell’s claims and shed some light on her mental state before her disappearance by sharing relevant internet searches.

Ms Russell, through her attorney, admitted that she lied about the kidnapping on Monday.

“It is what it is,” Mr Derzis added.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 08:00


ICYMI: Police give timeline of disappearance

Carlee Russell: Police give timeline of disappearance

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 07:00


Carlee Russell searched for Amber Alerts and the movie ‘Taken’ before disappearing, say police

Carlee Russell searched for Amber Alerts and the movie Taken just days before disappearing on 13 July.

On 11 July, Ms Russell used her cell phone to search for information on whether payment is required for an Amber Alert, police said during a press conference on Wednesday.

Two days later, on 13 July, Ms Russell conducted two searches related to Amber Alerts using her work computer. One of the searches was about the maximum age for an Amber Alert.

Additionally, she searched for details about the movie Taken, which revolves around an abduction of a teenager, “how to take money from a register without being caught” and information about Birmingham bus tickets.

Giving more details about the reported “kidnapping”, the police disclosed that upon leaving work on 13 July, Ms Russell “concealed” a dark-coloured bathrobe and a roll of toilet paper.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 06:00


Did Carlee Russell’s family keep donations?

Ever since Carlee Russell’s disappearance was revealed to be a hoax, questions have swirled about the thousands of dollars raised to help bring her home.

Contrary to rumours, Ms Russell’s family does not appear to have gained at all financially from those donations.

Her mother released a statement insisting that the family did not accept any money on the 25-year-old’s behalf and instead directed donors to Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama.

The non-profit, which accepts anonymous tips and offers rewards for information leading to arrests, took in more than $63,300 in the two days that Ms Russell was missing.

The company told that it has refunded the largest donors who gave at least $20,000 but was holding off on returning smaller donations because the official investigation is ongoing.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 05:00


Attorney for Carlee Russell says she is ‘dealing with her issues’

An attorney representing Carlee Russell has said he expects her to be charged over false claims that she was abducted.

Emory Anthony told local news station WDHN that he had met with Hoover Police Department detectives to discuss his client’s case. Mr Anthony said that Ms Russell was better but still “dealing with her issues.”

“It was a great meeting; It was a short meeting,” Mr Anthony said. “We tried to identify some things about where we go from here. There [are] responsibilities that we need to take care of.”

Mr Anthony’s remarks come just a day after authorities confirmed that Ms Russell, 25, had admitted to lying about being kidnapped on the side of a highway after stopping to check on a toddler. The attorney did not elaborate on what motivated Ms Russell’s fake story.

He added: “I know you have a hundred questions but we won’t be able to answer them at this point in time, but just walk with us and we should be through this shortly ,” Mr Anthony said.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 04:00


Catch up with the Carlee Russel case

What really happened to Carlee Russell?

Carlee Russell falsely claimed she vanished after calling 911 to report seeing a young boy in diapers on the side of a busy interstate. Bevan Hurley reports

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 03:00


Next steps in Carlee Russell case

An attorney representing Carlee Russell said he spoke with police about taking the next steps in the mysterious case.

Emory Anthony, Ms Russell’s attorney, confirmed on Monday that his client lied about being kidnapped and faked her disappearance.

My client apologizes for her actions to this community, the volunteers who were searching for her, to the Hoover Police Department and other agencies as well, as to her friends and family,” Mr Anthony’s statement said.

The following day, Tuesday, Mr Anthony met with the Hoover Police Department to discuss next steps.

He told ABC 3340 that he spoke with the police to make sure Ms Russell is “taken care of” and that they will “try to identify some things about where we go from here.”

He said he expected charges to be filed against his client via the district attorney.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 02:00


How much was the cost of the search for Carlee Russell?

Hoover Police Chief Nicholas Derzis did not provide the cost of the frantic search launched following Ms Russell’s fabricated abduction.

“We don’t have a dollar figure yet but we’re certainly working on getting one and not only ours, but the other agencies that gave us a lot of support,’’ he said. “We still don’t know what happened during those 49 hours, where she was, did she have any help.”

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 01:00


Crime stoppers refunding $63k in reward money

The Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama will be refunding the $63,378 that was donated during the search for 25-year-old Carlee Russell.

“We are releasing all funds,’’ Bob Copus, executive director of Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama, told on Tuesday. “We’re basing that on the statements made at the news conference.”

More than $60k was donated in the 49 hours that Ms Russell went ‘missing’ at the beginning of July.

Police and Ms Russell’s attorney revealed on Monday that Ms Russell faked her disappearance and lied about being kidnapped.

Ariana Baio27 July 2023 00:00

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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