Carlee Russell, the Alabama woman who initially called 911 to report a toddler walking along the highway and then disappeared for 49 hours, surrendered to authorities on Friday afternoon, Channel3 NOW reported.
The 26-year-old is facing charges of falsely reporting to law enforcement officers and falsely reporting an incident, both considered misdemeanors.
After her surrender, Carlee Russell was released on bail, as revealed by Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis during a news conference.
Russell’s story had gained widespread attention, but it was later determined that she did not witness a toddler on the side of the road, was not kidnapped, did not leave the Hoover area, and acted alone, according to a statement by her attorney, Emory Anthony, on Monday.
Derzis stated that both misdemeanor charges carry a maximum sentence of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000. He acknowledged that many were shocked and appalled by the fact that Miss Russell is only facing two misdemeanor charges, despite the panic and disruption her actions caused.
“I understand and share the frustration,” he continued, “but the charges filed are based on the existing laws. The investigation will now be handled by the office of Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.
We cannot consider this a victimless crime,” Marshall emphasized during the Friday news conference. “Significant hours and resources were dedicated to this investigation.” He also expressed gratitude to the “many men and women who are civilians” that assisted in the search for her.
Derzis clarified that no charges have been brought against Russell’s family or any other individuals. He also mentioned that there is a possibility of additional charges as the attorney general’s office continues their investigation.
In her statement through her attorney, Russell apologized to the community for her actions but did not provide specific details about her whereabouts during the 49 hours she was missing. “We still don’t have information about her location,” Derzis told reporters on Monday, stating that only Carlee knows the answer, and perhaps now her attorney as well.
Carlee Russell turned herself in and charged with 2 misdemeanors for kidnapping hoax and false statements
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