Carlee Russell: Alabama Woman Who Faked Kidnapping Story Sentenced to a Year in Jail

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Carlee Russell
Carlee Russell Facebook

Carlee Russell, the 25-year-old Alabama woman who admitted to faking her own kidnapping, has been found guilty of two misdemeanor charges related to the case.

Russell had pleaded not guilty to one count of false reporting to law enforcement authorities and one count of falsely reporting an incident.

Russell Sentenced to a Year in Jail, Ordered to Pay $18,000 in Restitution

Carlee Russell
Carlee Russell Twitter

A judge found her guilty, and Russell was sentenced to spend a year in jail and pay nearly $18,000 in restitution, according to the reports. Russell's attorney, Emory Anthony, told CNN affiliate WVTM his client asked for a verdict so they could appeal the case to a circuit court in an effort to avoid jail time.

Anthony said Russell does not object to paying restitution, saying, "I think anything is fair when it comes to restitution with the expenses that were done. So we have to say that is fair. Anytime you assert restitution it has to be proven. The amount $17-thousand and some, hours spent, I would think that would be fair." Anthony said his client has apologized for what she has done, and he wants to make sure "her mental state is just fine."

How did Russell Stage Her Own Kidnapping?

Carlee Russell
Carlee Russell Twitter

As previously reported, Russell staged her own kidnapping in July that grabbed headlines across the nation after she mysteriously disappeared after calling 911 to report a child walking along a highway.

Officers arrived at the site and found her vehicle and personal items, but Russell was nowhere to be found. After a nearly 49-hour police search, Russell returned home and said she had been abducted, held hostage and escaped her captors.

Authorities continued investigating and soon her false kidnapping story unraveled. Police investigating the kidnapping found Russell's web searches included things like, "Do you have to pay for an Amber Alert?" and "How to take money from a register without being caught."

Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said her phone's search history also included queries for bus tickets from Birmingham to Nashville with a departure date of July 13 – the date she went missing – and searches for the movie "Taken," an action film in which a woman is kidnapped by human traffickers.

The inconsistencies in the supposed victim's story became more apparent after she was dismissed from her job at the Woodhouse spa in Birmingham, and her boyfriend removed all traces of her from his social media accounts.

According to the police, before Russell disappeared, she stole a robe and toilet paper from the spa where she worked. Shortly afterward, she visited a Target store to purchase snacks, but those items were not found in her vehicle after she went missing.

Russell later admitted the kidnapping was all a hoax.