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State Sen. Weaver to bring bill in response to false abduction of Carlee Russell

The bill will create a felony for carrying out a false abudction.

Carlee Russell Hoover Police Department
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In the aftermath of the faked disappearance of Hoover woman Carlethia “Carlee” Russell, Hoover police have only been able to charge her with two misdemeanors, citing a lack of options under state law.

Alabama Sen. April Weaver, R-Alabaster, is setting out to change that, announcing Monday her intentions to file a bill in the next session creating stricter charges for those who report “sham kidnappings.”

However, that is not the whole story because Russell did not indicate to law enforcement directly at the time of her disappearance that she had been abducted. She simply disappeared after falsely reporting a child on the roadside.

Weaver said her bill will include strong prison sentences and mandatory restitution requirements for the full cost of resources expended by law enforcement agencies during a hoax abduction.

“This fictitious kidnapping caused fear and shock not only throughout the legislative district I represent, but also throughout our state and nation,” Weaver said in a statement. “Individuals who concoct and carry out sham kidnappings and lead our law enforcement officers on wild goose chases must be given severe penalties for their deceptive actions.

“During the recent hoax carried out by Carlethia Russell, significant monetary and human resources were used at the local, state, and federal levels to resolve this fictitious event, and numerous volunteers donated their time in record-breaking heat to search for the reported victim. I am proud to support our law enforcement officials and the good people of our communities by sponsoring this bill, which will bring higher punishment for those who intentionally report false abductions to law enforcement and waste precious resources.”

Attorney General Steve Marshall has also pledged to get full restitution from Russell for the incident.

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“There are actual costs, and there are societal costs,” Marshall said on “Fox & Friends Weekend.” “This is not a victimless crime. Clearly, the City of Hoover, through their police department as well as surrounding law enforcement agencies, expended significant resources to try to make sure we could locate not only Carlee Russell but, don’t forget, the allegation involved an infant on the side of a busy highway. We put significant resources into being able to try to find both. Now, obviously, we know that was a false allegation, and it is our intention through this criminal prosecution to make sure we recover that restitution but also understand the impact on society. You had countless individuals come out late, early, in the heat in Alabama looking for both of these individuals. One thing I don’t want to see from this is people become jaded in their response at times when their help was necessary.”

Russell notably searched the internet before her disappearance for “how much an Amber Alert costs” and the 2008 abduction film Taken before her disappearance.

It was only after Russell returned home that she told police she had been abducted by a couple, and included that the woman had fed her Cheez-its.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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