Carlee Russell Faces A Year In Jail, Found Guilty In Kidnapping Hoax

Carlee Russell has been found guilty of her bizarre kidnapping hoax that occurred earlier this year, that captivated the country.

The 26-year-old appeared in Hoover Municipal Court on Wednesday where she pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts for what the police had described as a “staged kidnapping.”

Hoover Municipal Court Judge Thomas Brad Bishop found Russell guilty on both charges.

Judge Finds Carlee Russell Guilty On Two Charges

Carlee Russell Found Guilty On Kidnapping Hoax, Possible Sentence Revealed

As previously reported, 26-year-old Carlee Russell was originally charged with false reporting to law enforcement and falsely reporting an incident, both of which she has been found guilty of in this hearing.

The state is recommending Russell spend a maximum of one year behind bars — six months for each charge — plus a fine of $831 and restitution in the amount of $17,974.88, per WBRC.

Russell, who pleaded not guilty in the case, is set to appeal the decision to the circuit court. Following the guilty hearing, Russell’s attorney, Emory Anthony, explained why they decided to appeal the case.

“We stipulated and appealed the case and the reason behind it was that they’re trying to ask for jail time, which we totally disagree with,” Anthony said, per CBS. “So, in fairness, there’s no need of having a trial here, knowing their position. So we have stipulated and appealed the case and we’ll start anew in the Bessemer circuit court.”

Carlee Russell Disappears For Days After Calling 911

Carlee Russell Found Guilty On Kidnapping Hoax, Possible Sentence Revealed
Instagram | Carlee Russell

As you may recall, Carlee Russell made headlines after she called 911 on July 13 after claiming she saw a toddler on the side of I-459, a popular highway in Alabama. Police responded to the call, but only found Russell’s phone, which then resulted in an urgent search.

To date, authorities are unclear on where Russell was for those 49 hours she was missing, but she told police that a man with orange hair came out of the woods and abducted her when she was on the side of the interstate, forcing her into an 18-wheeler. Later, Russell said she found a way to escape, but not before she was recaptured. According to Russell, she was then able to escape again in West Hoover and returned home on July 15.

Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis spoke out about the incident, sharing his frustrations at how Russell is being let off easy, in his opinion — comparing it to a shoplifter.

“It’s the same as someone who goes out and maybe shoplifts less than $500 worth of merchandise. It’s the same penalty, and I just think there needs to be some sort of enhancement when you’re talking about being kidnapped and you’ve been a victim of a serious crime,” Derzis said.

Carlee Russell Admits To Falsifying The Incident

Carlee Russell Found Guilty On Kidnapping Hoax, Possible Sentence Revealed
Instagram | Carlee Russell

In a previous statement, released by Carlee Russell’s attorney, the 26-year-old admitted to never seeing a child on the side of the road.

“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 any help in this incident, but this was a single act done by herself. My client was not with anyone or in a hotel with anyone during 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,” the statement said in part.

Carlee Russell turned herself into the Hoover Police on July 28 and posted a $2,000 bond.

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