When Carlethia “Carlee” Russell was convicted in Hoover for faking her own abduction, her attorneys took the case to the state level to appeal. However, it appears the parties have had a change of heart.

Russell’s state trial was scheduled for March 18, but that trial has been canceled, and now there will be a plea hearing. Russell is expected to plead guilty.

A Hoover municipal judge found Russell guilty of false reporting to law enforcement. She was ordered to a year in jail and nearly $20,000 in fines.

Russell’s case gained national attention after she disappeared from the side of Interstate 459 in Hoover on July 13, 2023. Investigators said moments before she disappeared, she called 911, saying there was a toddler on the side of the interstate in a diaper.

She then called a family friend to tell her about the situation, and the friend heard a scream and then nothing but traffic noise.

First responders arrived to find Russell’s vehicle, wig and cell phone but no toddler.

A full-scale search was launched, including local, state and federal agencies.

Russell walked up to her home on July 15 and was taken to the hospital for evaluation. She told a story about a kidnapping. However, detectives determined the whole thing was a hoax.

Detectives discovered Russell had “Googled” the movie “Taken” and searched for information on the Amber Alert system ahead of the incident.

Russell has not publicly spoken about the incident or explained why she faked her own abduction or where she was during the two days. Her attorney said those details would eventually be divulged, but his client’s mental health was a priority.

The case became part of pop-culture history, with people sharing memes and even dressing up as Russell for Halloween. However, Hoover police said the issue is no laughing matter.

The plea hearing in the state case has been set for March 21 in Jefferson County.

The Alabama Legislature responded by considering a bill to make the false reporting of a crime a felony if there is a danger to a person or the public.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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