NATIONAL NEWS

Alabama woman set for a plea hearing months after police say she faked her own kidnapping

Mar 9, 2024, 8:14 AM

BESSEMER, Ala. (AP) — A new plea hearing has been set for an Alabama woman accused of falsely telling police she was abducted last summer after stopping her car to check on a toddler wandering near a highway.

Carlee Russell’s two-day disappearance, and her story of being abducted, captivated the nation before police called her story a hoax.

Russell was scheduled for trial March 18, but a court document filed Thursday shows a plea hearing is now set for March 21. The document did not specify whether she will plead guilty.

Russell’s attorneys appealed her case to circuit court after a municipal judge, in an October ruling, found Russell guilty of misdemeanor charges of false reporting to law enforcement and falsely reporting an incident. The ruling came after Russell’s attorneys agreed to “stipulate and appeal” — a procedure in which a defendant acknowledges evidence against them, a guilty decision is entered and the case moves up to circuit court.

Russell disappeared July 13 after calling 911 to report a toddler beside a stretch of Interstate 459 in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover. She returned home two days later and told police she had been abducted and forced into a vehicle.

Police quickly cast doubt on Russell’s story. Her attorney issued a statement through police acknowledging there was no kidnapping and that she never saw a toddler. In the statement, Russell apologized to law enforcement and the volunteers who searched for her.

Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis previously said he was frustrated that Russell was only being charged with two misdemeanors despite the panic and disruption she caused. He said the law did not allow for enhanced charges.

Alabama legislators this year are considering a bill that would enhance penalties for falsely reporting crimes.

National News

Associated Press

A fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store, police say

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Police say a fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store. The person died Saturday evening, Arkansas state police said in a statement. A total of 14 people were wounded in Friday’s shooting, according to police: “11 civilians, two law enforcement officers and the […]

11 minutes ago

Associated Press

2 people were taken to a hospital after lightning struck a tree near a PGA Tour event in Connecticut

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Two people were taken to the hospital Saturday after lightning struck a tree near a home along a golf course that is hosting the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship. The home is just north of the fifth green at TPC River Highlands, which is hosting the tournament one week after the U.S. […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Rains, cooler weather help firefighters gain ground on large wildfires in southern New Mexico

RUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — Recent rains and cooler weather are helping more than 1,000 firefighters gain ground on two wildfires in southern New Mexico on Saturday that have killed two people, destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands to flee. Fire crews took advantage of temperatures in the 70s, scattered showers and light winds to […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

One dead, seven injured after shooting at Kentucky nightclub

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — One person is dead and seven others were injured after a shooting at a Kentucky nightclub early Saturday morning, authorities say. Louisville Metro Police Department officials said they responded to a call of several people shot at the H20 nightclub in Louisville just before 1 a.m. One man, 40-year-old Joseph D. […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Man trying to drown 2 children on Connecticut beach is stopped by officers, police say

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A man trying to drown two small children at a Connecticut beach early Saturday morning was thwarted by police officers, according to authorities. An officer spotted an SUV parked on a beach in West Haven at about 2:30 a.m. and heard “significant screaming” from the water as he approached. As […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Senate in Massachusetts passes bill curtailing use of plastics including bags, straws

BOSTON (AP) — The state Senate in Massachusetts has passed a wide-ranging bill curtailing the use of plastics, including barring the purchase of single-use plastic bottles by state agencies. The bill, approved Thursday, also bans carry-out plastic bags at retailers statewide and require stores to charge 10 cents for recycled paper bags. It also requires […]

10 hours ago

Alabama woman set for a plea hearing months after police say she faked her own kidnapping