Carlee Russell, the woman who
that she had been lured into a kidnapping by a child left on the side of a freeway, admitted on Monday that the story was a hoax.
The story made national headlines as police sought for the woman and online sleuths scoured all available media for clues to her apparent disappearance after she claimed she had seen a child in a diaper and stopped to help.
On Monday, Russell admitted in a statement through her attorney that the story was a hoax.
"My client has given me permission to make the following statement on her behalf," said Hoover Police Department chief Nick Derzis, who read the statement at a media briefing.
"There was no kidnapping ... 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. My client did not have any help in this incident. This is a single act done by herself. My client was not with anyone, or in any hotel with anyone from the time she was missing," the statement continued.
"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," Derzis added.
The statement from Russell's attorney asked for forgiveness as well as prayers.
Online critics turned against Russell after she had shown up on the doorstep of her family's home claiming she had been kidnapped. Some noted that the police statement at that time had been non-committal about whether the kidnapping had actually happened.
Others pointed to discrepancies in the grainy video from the highway that didn't appear to show any child on the side on the road.
One human trafficking expert
the Business Insider that this kind of kidnapping was rare for traffickers because they typically try to avoid the spotlight and instead seek victims by other means.
"As far as we are aware, this is not a tactic that traffickers use," said Sabrina Thulander of Polaris.
She went on to say that human traffickers tend to be a family member to their victim or an intimate partner who exploits a victim's vulnerabilities.
Here's more from the media briefing on Monday:
Carlee Russell Fake Disappearance: She wasn't abducted, charges could be coming | LiveNOW from FOX
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