Carlee Russell, a 25-year-old Alabama nursing student, is facing two misdemeanors after faking her own kidnapping earlier this month.
On July 13, Russell called 911 to report a toddler wandering alone down the side of the interstate. When police arrived at the site, there was no toddler, no evidence of a toddler, and no Russell.
Russell’s car, however, was abandoned at the scene, which incited a widespread search involving local, state, and federal agencies.
Two days later, Russell showed up at her parents’ house claiming that a white man with orange hair had held her hostage.
“A white man – of course,” says Sara Gonzales, clearly annoyed.
Investigators were skeptical when they found Russell’s phone, which was left in her car.
“She had searches in her phone’s history that included the movie ‘Taken,’” which is about a young girl’s abduction, Sara reports.
Russell also searched for information about Amber Alerts.
“She was clearly searching terms that indicated that she wanted to fake her own abduction,” Sara says.
Russell’s strange abduction story was quickly disproven, and “her attorney later confirmed to police in a press conference that she did, in fact, just make everything up.”
As of now, Russell’s motives behind her kidnapping hoax are unclear.
“My personal opinion,” Sara says, “is that we are living in a society that is so narcissistic that she just wanted attention.”
Regardless of Russell’s intentions, she now must contend with charges for “false reporting to law enforcement and falsely reporting an incident.”
Many people have expressed frustration with Russell’s consequences, claiming that they are far too soft, especially considering “police dedicated resources to searching for her” – resources “that were taken away presumably from other actual emergencies,” Sara adds.
“They had $63,000 donated to Crime Stoppers to try to help find her,” Sara explains, adding, “I actually wish it was a felony.”
“She needs to be made an example of,” John Doyle agrees.
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