In the words of ‘Love & Hip-Hop’s’ Karlie Redd: it was all a LIE. Carlee Russell has admitted she faked her disappearance. Hoover Police Department, who led the search for what they believed was a kidnapping, confirmed the missing person’s case was a hoax on July 24.
The story of the 26-year-old disappearing after calling 911 about a semi-nude toddler on a highway gripped social media instantly. During the 49 hours she was gone, thousands of people online advocated for her search and safe return. Local Alabama authorities collaborated with other agencies. Search volunteers came out in masses. Everyone’s goal was to find Carlee Russell.
When she returned home, barefoot and alone, public doubt of her kidnapping story skyrocketed. A public briefing on the case by Hoover Police Department last week added fuel to the online fire.
RELATED: Hoover Police Department Shares ‘Not Previously Discussed’ Details Regarding The Carlee Russell Investigation
Here are five FACTS you should know about the disappearance hoax that gripped national headlines and allegedly blindsided even her inner circle.
1. Carlee Russell Admitted There Was No Kidnapping Or Baby
The two most prominent aspects of Carlee’s case were both fake. There was no kidnapping or baby. Russell herself confirmed both facts in a statement provided to Hoover Police Department by Carlee’s attorney, Emory Anthony.
Carlee was initially scheduled to meet with department officials on July 25. It would’ve been her second meeting with them as she also spoke to police when she returned home. However, before the meeting, her attorney canceled the meeting and instead provided a statement on Carlee’s behalf via email.
Chief Nick Derzis read the statement at Monday’s conference.
“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 any help in this incident. This was a single act done by herself. My client was not with anyone or at any 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. 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.”
Hoover PD has a meeting scheduled with Carlee’s attorney for Tuesday, July 25. As of yesterday’s presser, no meetings have been scheduled with Russell or her family. But Hoover PD plans to request an interview at today’s meeting.
2. Authorities Are Considering Charges Against Her
The investigation into the hoax kidnapping is ongoing. Last week, a Hoover PD official said they were just happy the 26-year-old is home because that was the agency’s goal throughout the case.
However, at Monday’s presser, the tune seemed to shift–aligning with public calls for Carlee’s arrest for wasting state and federal resources.
“We’re currently in discussions with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office in Bessemer about possible criminal charges related to this case, and we will announce those charges when and if they are filed,” Chief Nick Derzis said.
The kind of charges she’d face are still unknown. Chief Derzis says the decision is up to the prosecutor’s office.
As mentioned, internet users–including prominent figures like activist Tamika Mallory–have voiced their support for Carlee’s to be held accountable. Mallory, in particular, said everyone who called for the young woman’s search did what needed to be done. She also said those types of call-to-actions, particularly for Black women and children, shouldn’t stop.
Following her video discussing the situation, Mallory stepped into The Shade Room to address mental health rebuttals.
“Allowing your parents to go through such a painful and deeply embarrassing situation is beyond troubling, unacceptable and simply stupid,” Tamika wrote on TSR. “No matter what, she needs help. But again, it doesn’t mean she should not be held accountable for the harm she has caused. I say all of this with caution and a deep love for our people.”
3. Police Do Not Know Where Carlee Russell Was For Those 49 Hours Or Her Motivation
On Monday, Chief Nick Derzis said they had no facts about Carlee’s whereabouts during those 49 hours. Her parents are NOT under investigation now, but Hoover PD’s Chief Nick says, “Anything is on the table.”
“We still don’t know what happened to those 49 hours, where she was, did she have any help. We have no idea. I read the statement from Mr. Anthony that’s all we know.”
He added that officials are also unclear about her motivation behind the hoax.
What the Hoover PD does know is the timeline leading up to Carlee’s fake disappearance on July 13. Carlee Russell stopped at a Target for snack-like items on the night of her disappearance. Though her wig and cell phone were discovered at the staged scene of her disappearance, those snack items were not.
Hoover PD never uncovered any additional calls or evidence of a toddler on the highway–just Carlee’s 911 call. Had her story been true, police said she would’ve followed the child for six football fields before stopping to check on him.
One particular finding lit up the internet: Carlee’s internet searches leading up to her “kidnapping.” They included information about Amber alerts, the film “Taken,” taking money out of a register without being caught, and bus tickets from Birmingham to Nashville.
4. Carlee Russell’s Job Fired Her
Last week, New York Post reported that Carlee’s job fired her after Hoover’s findings were revealed last week. The 26-year-old, who celebrated her birthday this past weekend, worked at Woodhouse Spa in Birmingham.
The spa’s owner Stuart Rome spoke to the outlet about how her act has affected his business. Rome says it was “devastating” for her coworkers when they thought Carlee was kidnapped.
During their “busiest day of the week,” the Saturday after Carlee disappeared, employees advocated for her safe return with missing person flyers. After the “questionable things” surfaced in last week’s presser, Rome says coworkers have “been a little pissed off.”
“I think it erodes faith for the next time, it erodes faith when people see somebody who’s been abducted and they’ve been put through this,” Rome added. “They’re just not going to respond like they did, which is the worst part.”
Additionally, the business was forced to turn off comment sections on Facebook and Instagram due to comments about their affiliation with Carlee. As of Tuesday, their Instagram was set to private.
5. Carlee Russell’s Ex-Boyfriend Says He’s “Disgusted” By The Case Outcome
Carlee Russell’s former boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons, initially stood behind her in the public eye. Speaking to New York Post, he asked folks online to “stop bullying her” and consider “her mental health.”
But following Monday’s press conference, Thomar released a statement, again denying involvement in Carlee’s hoax and condemning her actions. His reference to her as his EX also confirmed they’ve split.
“Carlee’s actions created hurt, confusion, and dishonesty. I was made aware of the false narrative after coming to the defense of my ex Carlee Russell. Myself and my family’s nature was to react in love and genuine concern. We are disgusted from the outcome of this entire situation. I strongly feel exactly like you all, blindsided with Carlee’s actions,” Thomar said in an Instagram Story post.
He added that despite the case being an ongoing investigation, the investigation findings and her confession bring them “closure.” He thanked his family, friends, and volunteers who helped search for Russell.
Over the weekend, Thomar’s sister also condemned Carlee’s “fabricated” story.
“This whole situation is stupid as hell, but at the end of the day, she’s the one embarrassed. Everyone is literally o her neck for lying the way she did,” Mya Simmons wrote on Facebook.
She praised her brother for “being a real man and going out searching hard for his gf” and added that CArlee fumbled him.
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