Carlee Russell was arrested on Friday and charged with two misdemeanors for making false statements to the police. Hoover Police Department Chief Nicholas Derzis announced the arrest and charges on Friday.
“The story open wounds for families whose loved ones really were victims of kidnappings,” Derzis said. “Existing laws only allowed the charges that were filed to be filed.”
Russell was charged with two class A misdemeanors, false reporting to law enforcement authorities and falsely reporting an incident, which can be punishable by up to one year in prison.
According to ABC News, prosecutors advised police on the charges that would be filed in the Circuit Clerk of Jefferson County.
On Thursday, Carlee Russell’s kidnapping story has taken the world by storm. Earlier this week, Russell’s attorney released a statement telling what the police claimed to have known all along, Rusell lied.
According to local station WVTM 13, Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis claims to have known the story was a hoax when they released the timeline and search history. Derzis said the police took the case as “it is what it is.”
He added, “The fact that I think last Wednesday pretty much showed that we knew that it was a hoax.”
Russell was missing for 49 hours before reappearing at her family’s home.
Carlee Russell owned up to pulling a kidnapping hoax on Monday when Russell was supposed to meet with the police. Instead, she submitted a statement through her attorney admitting none of the kidnapping stories she told was true.
Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis read a statement from Emory Anthony read a statement from Russell on Monday:
“My client has given me permission to make the following statement on her behalf. There was no kidnapping on Thursday, July 13, 2023. 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 help in this incident, that this was a single act done by herself. My client was not with anyone or any hotel with anyone from the time she was missing. 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. 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.”
Also releasing a statement was Russell’s ex-boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons, who stated he was “blindsided” and “disgusted.” He wrote, “Thank you to all my family, friends, and the nation for support through this. “The severity in this matter has not been overlooked, and I deeply respect the genuine support shared during this situation.”
With the confirmation of a hoax, the question now becomes whether Russell will face charges. According to AL.com, no charges are currently lined up against Russell, but a meeting will occur between Derzis and Anthony about the case. In addition, Derzis is speaking with Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office in the Bessemer Cutoff about criminal charges.
Potential charges could be false reporting to law enforcement authorities or falsely reporting an incident. There is also the possibility of a Class A misdemeanor of false reporting to law enforcement, which is punishable by up to one year in county jail or a year of labor in the county.