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Alabama Woman Who Faked Kidnapping Pleads Guilty in Court

Carlee Russell, the Alabama woman who claimed she was abducted after stopping her car to check on a wandering toddler pleaded guilty on Thursday to misdemeanor charges of giving false information to law enforcement. Though she was ordered to pay more than $17,000 restitution, she was given a suspended six-month sentence, allowing her to avoid jail, the Associated Press reports.

Russell's two-day disappearance, and her story of being abducted alongside an interstate highway, captivated the nation before police called her story a hoax. The Alabama attorney general’s office had argued that Russell should spend time in jail because of the time and energy that law enforcement spent looking for her. Jefferson County Circuit Judge David Carpenter told Russell that while her actions caused panic and disruption in the community it would be a “waste of resources” to put her in jail for misdemeanors. Alabama legislators this year are considering a bill that would enhance penalties for falsely reporting crimes. The attorney general’s office is supporting that effort. “The next time law enforcement resources are needlessly wasted in this manner, the offender will be forever labeled a felon,” an AG spokesperson said.


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