OUR VIEW: Russell story remains mind boggling

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

As kids, we were taught the story of the boy who cried wolf. 

It’s hard not to think about that story when trying to wrap your head around the Carlee Russell situation, where the Hoover, Alabama woman told police she’d seen a small child walking on the interstate. She said she stopped to help and was kidnapped. 

Her disappearance quickly became a national story.

People everywhere sympathized with her. Absolutely everyone would stop if they saw a young child walking the interstate alone, just a few steps from being hit by a car. 

Two days later, she was back home and more questions remained, but at least she was home.

But, as it turns out, all of it was a hoax. 

The Hoover Police Department and other agencies found no evidence that anything that Russell reported occurred. Russell has now apologized, admitting that none of it was true. She said in a statement that she didn’t see a baby. She wasn’t kidnapped. It was all made up. Now, Russell has lost her job and potentially faces charges for filing a false police report. We have no idea why this happened, or why Russell made this up. 

Filing a false report means people with real problems and real emergencies are put on the backburner for an emergency that never occurred. It means tens of thousands of dollars — if not hundreds of thousands — in taxpayer money is put toward investigating something that didn’t need investigating.

When someone goes missing, no one should have to ask if it’s a made-up crime. But every time an incident like this occurs, where someone makes up something of this magnitude, it adds a little more doubt. And that’s a shame.