Carlee Russell, Alabama Woman Who Faked Kidnapping, Moves Forward With Plea Hearing

The 26-year-old faces jail time.

A plea hearing for Carlee Russell, who made headlines last July for faking her own kidnapping, has been set for March 21. The news follows the cancellation of a state trial to appeal her municipal conviction on the matter.

Russell pleaded not guilty in October 2023 for the charges of false reporting to law enforcement authorities and falsely reporting an incident. However, Hoover Municipal Judge Brad Bishop delivered a guilty verdict, recommending she serve a year in jail and nearly $20,000 in restitution and fines. Judge Bishop’s decision was advised by the state’s prosecution, confirmed by

Since the 26-year-old faces jail time, her initial appeal of the verdict could have led to a jury trial. This step seems to be unlikely given the latest update of a plea hearing instead. Russell’s defense originally stated they would proceed with an appeal due to the jail recommendation, which they considered harsh for the misdemeanor charges.

Russell went missing the night of July 13 after calling Hoover police to report a small child wandering along Alabama Interstate 459. While on the phone with a family member, Russell was heard screaming, yet was unable to be found on the scene.

After national concern and an intense search for the college student, Russell appeared at her parents’ home two days later. After initially telling her story to police, investigators later discovered that no kidnapping actually occurred.

In Alabama’s state government, lawmakers are continuing to push for a new law that would crack down on false abduction claims, especially after the national outcry from Russell’s incident. The bill would make faking a kidnapping a Class C felony eligible for up to 10 years in prison, per ABC 3340.

Her lawyer, Emory Anthony, could not comment further on what the plea hearing entails, or if Russell will move forward with actually serving time in jail.

RELATED CONTENT: Carlee Russell, Alabama Woman In Kidnapping Hoax, Found Guilty