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Alabama Woman Who Lied About Abduction Pleads Guilty to Filing a False Report – The New York Times

U.S.|Alabama Woman Who Lied About Abduction Pleads Guilty to Filing a False Report



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Carlee Russell, who received two suspended six-month sentences, won’t have to serve any time if she successfully completes 12 months of probation, performs 100 hours of community service and pays $17,000 in restitution.

Carlee Russell wearing a black dress and smiling.
Carlee Russell, the Alabama woman at the center of an abduction hoax, pleaded guilty to a false report.Credit…Hoover Police Department

An Alabama woman who faked her own kidnapping in a bizarre case that drew national attention last summer pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor charges of filing a false report to law enforcement, her lawyer said.

The woman, Carlee Russell, 26, was handed two six-month suspended jail sentences, allowing her to avoid time behind bars if she successfully completes 12 months of probation and 100 hours of community service. She must also pay $17,000 in restitution, her lawyer, Emory Anthony, said in a phone interview.

Ms. Russell’s name and picture dominated the news cycle in the middle of 2023 after she made a strange 911 call on July 13 reporting that she had seen a stranded toddler on the side of a road in the city of Hoover, Ala. Shortly after, she told a relative in another call about the toddler before that person heard Ms. Russell scream.

That was the last anyone had heard from her before she was reported missing, prompting a statewide search. Two days after her disappearance, she showed up on foot at her family’s home and told investigators an elaborate story about having been kidnapped and a harrowing escape through the woods.

But a police investigation quickly poked holes in her account and surfaced suspicious online searches suggesting that she had planned her disappearance.

Before that month’s end, she confessed in a letter to police sent through her lawyer, Mr. Anthony, that the entire ordeal was a lie perpetrated solely by herself. There was no child and there was no kidnapping.

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