Carlee Russell, Via Her Attorney: “There Was No Kidnapping”
Hoover Police held a press conference Monday where a statement from Carlee Russell's attorney indicated that her kidnapping was fabricated.
"There was no kidnapping," said Russell's statement read by Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis.
"My client did not see a baby on the side of the road. My client did not leave the Hoover area and 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 from the time she was missing."
"My client apologies for her actions to this community, the volunteers who were searching for her, the Hoover Police Department, other agencies as well and 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 "
A missing persons report was filed for Russell on July 13 as she disappeared into the woods on foot while stopped alongside I-459 that evening.
The 25-year-old allegedly saw a toddler on the side of the road and informed authorities before calling a relative right after. It was during this time when contact was lost with Russell, Hoover Police say, but the phone call wasn't ended.
When police arrived, several items belonging to Russell were found including her phone and purse. There was no sign of the toddler, however.
She turned up just days later at her family's doorstep on Saturday, July 15, and was taken to UAB Hospital to receive medical care.
Russell's statement to the police after resurfacing indicated that she was abducted by a man and a woman while on the side of I-459 and shoved into a vehicle. She said then they moved her to the cabin of an 18-wheeler where she was eventually forced to take photos naked.
An appearance from Russell's family on NBC's "Today" the Monday following her return caused a stir throughout the state as her parents, Talitha and Carlos Russell, claimed their daughter was "abducted" and that her captors were still at large.
However, according to a statement from Hoover Police just six days after her initial disappearance, the threats of possible kidnappers still putting the community in danger were unsubstantiated.
"What we can say is we have been unable to verify most of Carlee's initial statement made to investigators," Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said.
"We have no reason to believe there is a threat to public safety related to this particular case."
Derzis also said that, prior to her disappearance, Russell had searched for information about the movie "Taken," and the maximum age for which an amber alert could be issued for a person.
Russell has been unavailable for a police interview since the initial questioning after resurfacing. It is unclear whether she'll face criminal charges in the case.