Carlee Russell Pleads Guilty To Lying About Kidnapping & Receives Sentence

Carlee Russell avoided jail for faking a kidnapping in 2023. According to multiple reports, a judge sentenced her to 12 months of probation for the hoax on Thursday (March 21).

Russell pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of filing a false police report and falsely reporting an incident to law enforcement. Judge David Carpenter said it would be “a waste of government resources” to put Russell in jail.

The judge ordered Russell to pay $17,974.88 in restitution to the City of Hoover. Russell must complete 100 hours of community service.

Last year, Russell called police to report a child on the interstate in Hoover before she went missing. She reemerged two days later and told authorities she was kidnapped. She claimed a man and woman abducted her when she supposedly stopped to check on a child walking on the highway. The case received national attention.

Police found no evidence of a child on the interstate and discovered suspicious searches on Russell’s phone. Russell admitted she lied about the kidnapping as police investigated her claims. The 26-year-old woman apologized for her actions at her sentencing.

“I want to genuinely apologize for my actions, and the resulting negative impact inflicted onto others. I made a grave mistake while trying to fight through various emotional issues and stress,” Russell said. “I’m extremely remorseful for the panic, fear and various range of negative emotions that were experienced across the nation.”

She added, “I want to specifically acknowledge and take accountability for the pain and embarrassment that I inflicted upon my family, my church family, friends, neighbors, community, and all of those who were directly involved in search efforts for me.”

Russell is scheduled to return to Jefferson County Circuit Court for a hearing on October 16. The judge will review her restitution payments and community service progress.

[embedded content]