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James Shelnutt

Crime Stories with Nancy Grace: Alabama Kidnap Faker Avoids Jail

Carlee Russell calls 911, telling the operator that she sees a toddler walking down the side of an Alabama freeway.

When police arrive, there’s no toddler and  Russell is gone. Her car, however, is still parked along the highway. The door is open and the car is running. Forty-nine hours later, Russell returns home, telling investigators in a brief interview that a man with orange hair and a woman abducted her.

As the investigation continued, police find some “really strange” internet searches in the hours before she vanished, such as the cutoff age for an AMBER Alert.

Now Russell admits via a statement from her lawyer that there was no toddler or abduction.

In a Jefferson County, Ala., circuit court Russell was ordered to pay nearly $18,000 in restitution and sentenced to 12 months of supervised probation, community service, and evidence of continued mental health counseling.   Judge David Carpenter suspended Russell’s two six-month sentences, saying jail time would be a “waste of government resources.”

Joining Nancy Grace today:

James Shelnutt – Attorney – The Shelnutt Law Firm, P.C.; 27-year Atlanta Metro Area Major Case Detective and Former S.W.A.T. Officer; X: @ShelnuttLawFirm
Caryn Stark – Psychologist- Trauma and Crime Expert; X: @carnpsych
Sheryl McCollum – Cold Case Investigative Research Institute Founder; Host of Podcast, “Zone 7 “
Mike Hadsell – President and Founder of Peace River K9 Search and Rescue; X: @K9River
Savannah Sapp – Multimedia Journalist and Reporter for WAFF48 in Alabama; X: @Savannah Sapp/Instagram:@savannahsapp.tv/Facebook:SavannahSappWAFF48

Additional Guest 

  • Lee Reiber – Mobile Device Forensic Expert, COO: Oxygen Forensics, Inc., Author: “Mobile Forensic Investigations: A Guide to Evidence Collection, Analysis, and Presentation”

“Crime Stories with Nancy Grace” on Fox Nation is also a national radio show on SiriusXM channel 111, airing for two hours daily starting at 12 p.m. EST. You can also subscribe and download the daily podcasts at iHeart Podcasts.

[Feature Photo: Carlee Russell/Hoover Police Department]