Alleged abduction was a hoax, attorney for Carlee Russell tells police

Published 6:00 pm Monday, July 24, 2023

Hoover police said Monday afternoon an attorney for Carlee Russell has admitted that her abduction story was made up.

Russell set off a statewide search and panic in the community after she called 911 on Thursday night alleging she spotted a child walking alone on the Interstate, only to vanish moments later just before police arrive, prompting speculation that she was abducted.

“We know by her own admission that it didn’t happen,” Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said Monday.

Russell appeared approximately 49 hours later at her parents home. She told police at the time that she was abducted and held against her will.

Derzis held a press conference Monday afternoon and read a statement from Carlee’s attorney, Emory Anthony.

The statement as read by Chief Derzis was:

“My client has given me permission to make the following statement on her behalf: 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. My client did not have any help in this incident, but this was a single act done by herself.”

“My client was not with anyone or at any hotel with anyone during the time she was missing.”

“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.”

“We ask for your prayers for Carlee as she addresses her issues and attempts to move forward, understanding that she made a mistake in this matter. Carlee again asks for your forgiveness and prayers.”

Derzis said the attorney did not state were Carlee actually was during the time she was missing.

Although no charges against Carlee have been filed, Derzis said police are discussing the matter with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

“We will announce those charges when, and if, they are filed,” Derzis said.