Carlee Russell, the Alabama woman who faked her own kidnapping, has been arrested and released. The 25-year-old, now facing charges of filing a false police report and filing a false statement to law enforcement, turned herself into police on Friday, CBS 42 reported. At Friday’s press conference, the Hoover Police Department said has been Russell released on a $2,000 bond.
Hoover Police Department chief Nick Derzis said people are confused after learning that Russell is only facing two misdemeanors.
“Judging from the amount of phone calls and emails that we have received from all over the country, I know that many are shocked and appalled that Miss Russell is only being charged with two misdemeanors, despite all the panic and disruption her actions caused,” Derzis told reporters. “Let me assure you, I, too, share the same frustration, but existing laws only allow the charges that were filed to be filed.”
As Blavity previously reported, Russell called 911 as she was driving on the highway and said there’s a toddler walking alone. However, it turned out that there wasn’t any child on the road. Russell disappeared immediately after making the call. Her disappearance became a national story as people around the country organized massive search efforts.
Two days after her disappearance, the Alabama woman returned home on her own, saying she escaped from kidnappers. In a statement to police on Monday, attorney Emory Anthony said his client admits that she made up the whole story.
“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,’’ Anthony wrote according to AL.com. “My client was not with anyone or at any hotel during the time she was missing,’’
At Friday’s press conference, Derzis didn’t reveal where Russell stayed when she disappeared for two days. However, he spoke about the serious consequences of reporting fake kidnapping stories.
“This story opened wounds for families whose loved ones really were victims of kidnappings, some of which even helped organize searches in hopes that they could find Carlee alive so that her family would not experience the pain and suffering that they felt when their loved ones never returned home,” the chief said.
Derzis also said he’ll speak with legislatures to implement more serious punishments for people who report false kidnappings. As for the next step in Russell’s case, Derzis said Derzis on Friday said, the Attorney General’s office will now review the police department’s files and prepare its prosecution.
According to NBC News, Anthony said his client is also waiting to see what happens next.
“All we can do now is wait for the court date and see how we go from there,” the attorney said.