Judge Sentences Alabama Woman Who Fabricated Kidnapping
Carlee Russell
Hoover Police Department

An Alabama woman who admitted that she lied about being kidnapped last year was sentenced by a judge this week to probation and to pay restitution.

Carlee Russell, 26, was charged last summer with two misdemeanors — falsely reporting to law enforcement authorities and falsely reporting an incident — and was subsequently found guilty of both counts.

Russell had told law enforcement officials that she had been kidnapped after she went missing for two days. She later admitted to making up the entire incident.

Hoover Municipal Judge Brad Bishop recommended last fall that Russell pay $18,000 in restitution and spend a year in prison.

Russell’s team appealed the ruling in an attempt to get her out of having to spend time in jail, ABC News reported. Their effort was successful as Russell was sentenced to pay $17,974.88 restitution to the city of Hoover and 12 months of supervised probation, community service, and evidence of continued mental health counseling, the report added.

The Alabama Attorney General’s Office said that they were “disappointed, but not surprised” that Russell avoided going to jail, but noted that changes would soon be happening in the state that would prevent someone from getting off the hook in the future.

“Current law provides a weak penalty for false reporting and fails to account for situations, like Ms. Russell’s, that result in a significant law enforcement response,” said Katherine Robertson, chief counsel for the Alabama attorney general. “Fortunately, the Governor will soon receive our legislation to increase penalties for false reporting when an imminent threat is alleged and will expand the amount of restitution that can be sought. The next time law enforcement resources are needlessly wasted in this manner, the offender will be forever labeled a felon.”

Russell attorney Emory Anthony acknowledged in a statement last year that his client had lied about the entire incident.

“There was no kidnapping on Thursday July 13,” the statement said. “My client did not see a baby on the side on the road.”


“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, as to her friends and family,” the statement continued. “We ask for your prayers for Carlee, as she addresses her issues and attempts to move forward, understanding that she made a mistake in this matter. Carlee again asks for your forgiveness and prayers.”

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