BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Carlee Russell, a nursing student who made international news when she faked her own kidnapping in Alabama over the summer, was found guilty of the false report.
During a municipal court hearing Wednesday, Judge Brad Bishop found Russell guilty of filing a false police report and falsely reporting the incident, where she reported seeing a child walking along I-459 before she went missing on July 13. On July 15, she walked back to her home in Hoover, Alabama, where she told police that she had been abducted.
However, after a days-long investigation by police, Russell admitted she had made the whole thing up. In a statement released through her attorney, Russell said she acted alone and apologized for her actions.
There was speculation during the police investigation after authorities uncovered several text messages from Russell in the day leading up to her disappearance, such as “You have to pay for an Amber alert,” a search for a one-way bus ticket from Birmingham to Nashville for July 13, as well as the plot to the movie “Taken,” which involves the abduction of a girl.
Russell’s ex-boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons, spoke about the incident on a podcast last month, saying he doesn’t understand why she faked her kidnapping.
“I’m confused, like what happened? What made you do that? I don’t understand,” he said.
Bishop has ordered Russell to pay $831 for each misdemeanor charge, as well as over $17,000 in restitution.
Russell, who pleaded not guilty in the case, is set to appeal the decision to the circuit court.