Days after insisting that she'd been forced into a man's truck off the 1-459 Highway in Hoover, Ala., Carlee Russell has admitted that her kidnapping claims were all a hoax.
Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis read a statement by the 25-year-old's lawyer, Emory Anthony, at a press conference on Monday, July 24.
"There is was no kidnapping on Thursday, July 13, 2023," the statement explained. "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."
"This was a single act done by herself," it continued. "My client was not with anyone or any hotel with anyone from 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, [and] 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," the statement concluded.
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As OK! previously reported, Russell supposedly disappeared on Thursday, July 13, after making a phone call to emergency services that she'd seen a small child in a diaper walking alone on the side of a highway.
By the time authorities arrived at the scene, the young woman was nowhere to be found, leading to a two-day, state-wide search. Russell shockingly returned to her parents' home on foot on Saturday, July 15. She later told police that she'd been kidnapped and taken to a man's home, where she'd been forced to remove her clothing so that he could take photos of her.
Upon further investigation, Hoover Police found out that Russell had several suspicious Internet searches regarding Amber Alerts, one-way bus tickets and research into the Liam Neeson action flick Taken, which revolves around a father's desperate attempts to get his daughter back after she is kidnapped.
Derzis said at the time that they'd been "unable to verify" a majority of Russell's story, noting they had "no reason to believe there is a threat to public safety."
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On Monday, July 24, Derzis confirmed prosecutors have yet to make a decision on whether or not Russell will be hit with criminal charges for the hoax.