Carlee Russell is setting the record straight about her alleged kidnapping that caught national attention.
An attorney for the 26-year-old Alabama resident confirmed to police that she was not abducted as she had previously claimed.
“There was no kidnapping on Thursday, July 13, 2023,” Russell’s lawyer said, in a statement read by Hoover Police Chief Nicholas C. Derzis in a press conference on Monday. “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.”
Russell made headlines earlier this month after calling 911 to report an unaccompanied toddler walking along the highway in a diaper. Authorities arrived at the location to find Russell’s car still running with her personal items inside, but she was not seen again until returning to her parents’ house two days later. The alleged child was never accounted for.
A wide-ranging search for Russell took place over the 49 hours she was missing, and police said she claimed to detectives that she was taken and held captive during that time before allegedly escaping through the woods.
The newest update comes days after authorities confirmed to reporters in an earlier conference they were unable to corroborate most of Russell’s initial statements.
Per NBC News, investigators determined through Russell’s cell phone data that prior to her disappearance she had conducted online searches related to Amber alerts, the movie “Taken” and how to take money from a cash register without being caught.
The nursing student’s attorney further said in Monday’s statement that Russell didn’t have “any help” during the incident.
“This was a single act done by herself,” the statement 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.”
Russell went on to ask for “forgiveness and prayers” as she “addresses her issues and attempts to move forward,” the statement continued, adding that she “made a mistake.”
Derzis said during the conference that his department is speaking with the district attorney about potential criminal charges. As of Monday, no charges have been filed.
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