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Alabama woman charged with faking kidnapping found guilty

Carlethia "Carlee" Russell was found guilty Wednesday of two misdemeanor charges in connection to faking her abduction over the summer. Photo courtesy of Hoover Police Department/Release
Carlethia "Carlee" Russell was found guilty Wednesday of two misdemeanor charges in connection to faking her abduction over the summer. Photo courtesy of Hoover Police Department/Release

Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Carlethia "Carlee" Russell has been found guilty by an Alabama judge of faking her own abduction this summer that sparked a manhunt for the woman.

During a Hoover Municipal court hearing Wednesday, Judge Brad Bishop found the 26-year-old guilty of two misdemeanor charges of false reporting to law enforcement authorities and falsely reporting an incident.

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Bishop recommended a one-year prison sentence and for her to pay $17,874 in restitution as well as a $832 fine for each charge.

Russell is appealing the decision.

Russell was reported missing the night of July 13. Police said she called authorities that night to report a toddler walking alongside the highway. She reportedly stopped her car to aid the child, and when police arrived, all they found was her car abandoned, prompting a search for the missing woman.

Some 49 hours after her disappearance, she was located safe at her home, leaving many questions unanswered.

She then confessed that she did not see a toddler on the highway and that she had not been kidnapped.

Then on July 28, the Hoover Police Department announced the two misdemeanor charges against Russell.

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Russell's attorney, Emory Anthony, told reporters following the verdict that they are appealing the decision over the recommendation that his client be incarcerated.

He said that they don't disagree with paying restitution.

"Under the circumstances of Class A misdemeanor, first offense, if you can find where someone were put in jail, just bring the file to me and I'll look at it," Anthony said. "Generally, they're not put in jail. So, we totally disagree with that. Restitution, we don't disagree with that. But to lock up and put in jail, we disagree."

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