HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Jay Town, former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, joined CBS 42 Morning News to discuss what to expect ahead of the first court date in the case of Carlee Russell’s staged kidnapping.
A pretrial docket is set for the afternoon of October 11 at Hoover’s municipal court. Russell is charged with filing a false police report and filing a false statement to law enforcement following her staged July kidnapping.
At 9:30 p.m. on July 13, Russell called 911 to report that she saw a toddler on the side of I-459 near Exit 10. When police arrived, she was nowhere to be found. This launched a 49-hour search for Carlee that gained nationwide attention. On July 15, Russell was reported by the Hoover police as having safely returned home.
Four days after her return, parents Talitha Robinson-Russell and Carlos Russell went on the “Today” show where they said they believed their daughter had been kidnapped. That same day, HPD had held a press conference where Derzis recounted what Russell had told police happened to her.
On July 24, Hoover Police held an additional news conference where Derzis read a statement from Russell’s attorney, Emory Anthony, in which she admitted to staging the kidnapping.
Alabama law states falsely reporting an incident and falsely reporting to law enforcement are Class A misdemeanors — the same classification as domestic violence, some assault and some theft.
“Judging from the amount of phone calls and emails we’ve received from all over the country, I know many are shocked and appalled that Ms. Russell is only being charged with two misdemeanors despite all the panic and disruption her actions caused,” Derzis said during the July 24 news conference. “Let me assure you, I too share the same frustration.”
In the wake of Russell’s case, Senator April Weaver, R-Brierfield, announced she plans to file a bill making it a felony to fake an abduction.