A woman in Alabama has confessed to fabricating a story that she was kidnapped after stopping to check on a toddler she saw walking on the side of the interstate.
Carlee Russell’s attorney, Emory Anthony, provided a statement to police on Monday saying there was no kidnapping.
“There was no kidnapping on Thursday July 13. My client did not see a baby on the side on the road,” the statement read, according to Hoover police department chief Nicholas Derzis, who read it at a news conference.
She did not leave the city, and acted alone, the statement added.
“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,” Anthony said in the statement.
Derzis said it is possible that Russell could face charges. He said they are trying to determine where she was in the two days she was gone.
Russell, 25, disappeared after calling 911 on 13 July to report a toddler wandering beside a stretch of interstate. She returned home two days later and told police she had been abducted and forced into a vehicle.
Her disappearance became a national news story. Images of the missing 25-year-old were shared broadly on social media.
Russell told detectives she was taken by a man who came out of the trees when she stopped to check on the child, put her in a car and an 18-wheel truck, blindfolded her and held her at a home where a woman fed her cheese crackers, authorities said at a news conference last week.
At some point, Russell said she was put in a vehicle again but managed to escape and run through the woods to her neighborhood.
Investigators in Hoover, about 10 miles south of Birmingham, cast doubt on her story in a news conference last week.
They said in the days before her disappearance, she searched for information on her cellphone about Amber alerts, a movie about a woman’s abduction and a one-way bus ticket from Birmingham, Alabama, to Nashville, Tennessee, departing the day she disappeared. Her phone also showed she traveled about 600 yards while telling a 911 operator she was following a three- or four-year-old child in a diaper on the side of the highway.
Russell’s attorney said she had asked for forgiveness for fabricating the story.
“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,” Anthony said.