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Police doubt Carlee Russell’s kidnapping claims. Could she face consequences?


Police in Hoover, Alabama have said they were unable to verify most of Carlee Russell’s claims that she was kidnapped after pulling off to the side of the road while reporting a toddler was walking alone, leading to questions about whether she may face charges.

Ms Russell, 25, went missing on 13 July after calling 911 to report a young child was walking alone and barefoot on Interstate 459.

For the 49 hours that Ms Russell was missing, local, state and federal authorities conducted an extensive search.

The search efforts ended on 15 July when Ms Russell returned home on foot. She claimed a man kidnapped her.

But on Wednesday, authorities in Alabama said they have no evidence that a toddler was walking along the interstate and could not verify that Ms Russell was kidnapped.

Hoover police chief Nick Derzis said no other drivers on the busy interstate reported a child walking alone and there were no missing children alerts. He said Ms Russell was the only person to make the 911 call and there were no signs of a toddler when authorities arrived.

He added that during Ms Russell’s brief phone call with a 911 operator, she claimed she pulled her car over to assist the child but phone tracking data shows she moved 600 yards – the length of six football fields.

Mr Derzis expressed doubt that a small child between the ages of two and four could move 600 yards in the time Ms Russell was on the phone.

While police have not made any official allegations against Ms Russell, should they find that she made a false report, law enforcement could choose to charge her.

Section 13A-10-9 of the Alabama criminal code states that making a false report to law enforcement, knowingly, is a Class A misdemeanour.

When asked if law enforcement was planning on charging Ms Russell on Wednesday, Mr Derzis replied: “To be perfectly honest with you, that hasn’t even entered our mind or been discussed.”

Mr Derzis said the priority of their investigation was to return Ms Russell home safely and find out where she was in the two days she was missing.

25-year-old Carlee Russell was reported missing after a call to 911 to report a toddler was found on the side of an Alabama highway.

(Hoover Police Department)

Ms Russell told authorities that she was kidnapped and held captive by a man and a woman, but Mr Derzis said they were unable to verify this.

At this time, Hoover police do not know where Ms Russell was exactly in the two days she was missing.

Instead, Mr Derzis pointed to Ms Russell’s questionable internet search history that she conducted in the days and hours leading up to her disappearance.

Ms Russell searched for the movie Taken, one-way bus tickets out of Birmingham and information about Amber Alerts like how much they cost and how old a person has to be for one to be issued.

The Hoover police chief said they requested to interview Ms Russell for a second time but it was denied. The investigation into her disappearance is still ongoing.


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