KIDNAPPING HOAX: Alabama woman apologizes after claiming she was abducted while trying to help 'lost toddler' by the side of the road

The hoax that set off a national effort to locate Russell was exposed during a press conference on Monday.

An attorney for Carlee Russell announced that the Alabama woman confessed she did not see a child walking on the side of the highway and lied about being kidnapped.

The hoax that set off a national effort to locate Russell was exposed during a press conference on Monday.

Nicholas C. Derzis, the police chief of Hoover, read the statement provided by Russell's attorney. The 25-year-old nursing student admitted that she was not kidnapped on July 13 and had not even left the Hoover area and apologized in the statement “…for her actions to this community, to the volunteers who were searching for her, to the Hoover Police Department and other agencies as well."

According to Derzis, potential criminal charges are being considered by the district attorney’s office in consultation with the police department. Russell’s attorney said she acted alone and was not assisted by anyone.

On Monday, instead of appearing with her attorney for a scheduled interview with police, Russell provided a statement.

According to police, Russell was said to have disappeared on July 13 after calling 911 at approximately 9:30 pm to report having seen a child on Interstate 459 South. Russel also called a relative and told them she was going to help the toddler before the phone connection was lost. Responding officers found Russell's cell phone and wig in her red Mercedes but didn't find her or the toddler.

That day, she posted a series of what her friends and relatives described as strange tweets including one that said, "yeah, I want a family now."

Law enforcement said Russell claimed she was forced into an 18-wheeler truck and then taken to a house where a man and a woman forced her to undress so they could take pictures of her. 

Russell reappeared at her home 49 hours later and law enforcement was unable to verify her claims.

NBC reported that law enforcement agencies, including the Secret Service, discovered that before she disappeared, Russell searched the web to learn about how to pay for Amber Alerts and how to take money from a register without getting caught.

Russell also searched the internet for the movie "Taken" in which Liam Neeson’s on-screen daughter is kidnapped.

The case drew national attention and massive traction on social media as people attempted to locate her.

Carlee’s parents Talitha and Carlos Russell told "TODAY" show that their daughter wasn’t in a "good state" when she came back and her ex-boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons, said in a Facebook post that he was "blindsided” by the events.
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