BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — In a press conference held Friday afternoon, the Hoover Police Department announced that Carlee Russell had been charged with filing a false police report and filing a false statement to law enforcement authorities, a Class A misdemeanor.
The Hoover Police Department (HPD) revealed that Carlee had turned herself in Friday to the Hoover City Police and was released on a $2,000 bond – $1,000 per charge.
“Judging from the amount of phone calls and emails that we have received from all over the country, I know that many are shocked and appalled that Miss Russell is only being charged with two misdemeanors, despite all the panic and disruption her actions caused,” Derzis said. “Let me assure you, I, too, share the same frustration, but existing laws only allow the charges that were filed to be filed.”
Derzis said he will be contacting Alabama legislatures and asking them to look at this law and “urge them to add enhancement to current legislation” for when an individual falsely reports kidnapping or a violent crime.
During the press conference, Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said HPD have not uncovered anything about her whereabouts during the 49 hours she was missing, and they have not been able to confirm that she acted alone.
“This story opened wounds for families whose loved ones really were victims of kidnappings, some of which even helped organize searches in hopes that they could find Carlee alive so that her family would not experience the pain and suffering that they felt when their loved ones never returned home,” Derzis said.
This press conference comes days after Russell, 25, admitted to lying about being kidnapped earlier this month. Between July 13 and July 15, the Hoover native was missing.
On Monday, July 24, Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis addressed the public in what was HPD’s second press conference since Carlee’s disappearance. There, he read a statement from Russell that had been prepared by her attorney, Emory Anthony, where she admitted that she was not adducted the night of July 13 and that she had not seen a child on I-459.
At 9:30 p.m. July 13, Russell called 911 to report that she saw a toddler on the side of I-459 near Exit 10. When police arrived, she was nowhere to be found. This launched a 49-hour search for Carlee that gained nationwide attention. On July 15, Russell was reported by the Hoover police as having safely returned home.
Four days after her return, parents Talitha Robinson-Russell and Carlos Russell went on the “Today” show where they said they believed their daughter had been kidnapped. That same day, HPD had held a press conference where Derzis recounted what Russell had told police happened to her.
During his recounting, Derzis said Russell reported being kidnapped while she was checking on the child; being made to climb a fence; being kept in a tractor-trailer; being recaptured after an attempted escape; being forced to strip naked; and being fed cheese crackers.
Prior to any charges being brought against her, speculations had circulated on how much money it would cost to cover the efforts that were put into the search for Carlee.
Watch the full press conference at 1 p.m.