Jul 25, 2023

Carlee Russell Investigation Update Press Conference Transcript

Carlee Russell Investigation Update Press Conference Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsCarlee RussellCarlee Russell Investigation Update Press Conference Transcript

Hoover Police Chief holds press conference where he reads a statement from Carlee Russell’s attorney. In the statement she admits she never saw a baby walking along the highway and also that she was never kidnapped. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1 (00:07):

Good afternoon. I’m Captain Keith Czekleba with the Hoover Police Department. We’re here today to provide an update in the Carlee Russell investigation. Chief Nick Derzis will read a prepared statement that will provide an update in this case. After reading the statement, we will have time for a few questions related to the case. Keep in mind this is still an ongoing investigation and there are some questions we simply cannot answer at this point. With that I’ll turn it over to Chief Derzis.

Speaker 2 (00:35):

Thank you, Captain.

Speaker 1 (00:35):


Speaker 2 (00:38):

Good afternoon. Thanks to everyone for attending again today. I want to thank the members of our department and all of law enforcement who played a role in the investigation of this case. Last Wednesday, July 19th, we held a press conference and provided you with the facts of the Carlee Russell disappearance. We told you the investigation was ongoing, and we helped it determine where Carlee was within the 49 hours of her disappearance. Today I’ve talked to and received a statement from Mr. Emery Anthony, attorney for Carlee Russell. Mr. Anthony has scheduled a meeting for Carlee to meet with investigators early this afternoon, but then I received an email stating that a statement was being provided by him on her behalf. Mr. Anthony asked that I read the statement entirely, which I will do now.

“My client has given me permission to make the following statement on her behalf. There was no kidnapping on Thursday, July 13th, 2023. My client did not see a baby on the side of the road. My client did not leave the Hoover area when she was identified as a missing person. My client did not have any help in this incident, but this was a single act done by herself. My client was not with anyone or any hotel with anyone during the time she was missing. My client apologizes for her actions to this community, the volunteers who were searching for her, to the Hoover Police Department, and other agencies as well, as to her friends and family. We ask for your prayers for Carlee as she addresses her issues and attempts to move forward understanding that she made a mistake in this matter. Carlee again, ask for your forgiveness and prayers. We have a meeting scheduled with Mr. Anthony to further discuss this case. We’re currently in discussions with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office in Bessemer about possible criminal charges related to this case and we will announce those charges when and if they’re filed.”

Speaker 3 (02:44):

All right, with that we’ll take a few questions. As Officer Hale said, when we call on you please state your name and your affiliation. Yes sir.

Speaker 4 (02:50):

Keith Mims, WAGG 610 100.1 SummitMedia. Chief, do we at this time or does the Hoover Police Department know the whereabouts of Carlee Russell during that 49 hour period that she was supposedly missing?

Speaker 2 (03:08):

Now as I said the other day, was talking facts and everything. If I said anything today would just be speculation. Actual facts, we do not.

Speaker 5 (03:15):

Aaron Luwel, WBC 13, can you tell us what her motivation was for doing this, if you can?

Speaker 2 (03:21):

I wish I could tell you. I think only Carlee knows and maybe her attorney now. But again, the statement that we received from him does not indicate any.

Speaker 6 (03:28):

Brittany Dion, WVRC. Can you give us an idea of what charges you may be filing against her?

Speaker 2 (03:33):

That would strictly be up to the district attorney’s office?

Speaker 7 (03:36):

David Lamb, CBS 42. Can you update us. So that there is a meeting scheduled for this afternoon with the family or when is that meeting taking place with Carlee?

Speaker 2 (03:46):

A meeting with the attorney. Not the family or Carlee. We have a meeting scheduled with the attorney, and that will take place some point tomorrow.

Speaker 7 (03:52):

And there is no meeting with Carlee Russell or her family at this point?

Speaker 2 (03:55):

Not scheduled. No sir.

Speaker 8 (03:57):

Bria Chapman with Fox6. What’s next to close this investigation?

Speaker 2 (04:01):

Well again, we want to talk to Mr. Anthony tomorrow and see if he has any more to discuss about the case. We’ll certainly be asking if we’ll get an opportunity to again interview Carlee like we’ve wanted to since she returned.

Speaker 9 (04:18):

Chief, Steven Quinn ABC 33/40.

Speaker 2 (04:20):

Yes sir.

Speaker 9 (04:20):

Your reaction now knowing that Carlee has admitted that this was made up?

Speaker 2 (04:25):

Well, I’m glad that we got this. We certainly laid the facts out to you guys and to the national media that had a lot of interest in this particular case. The sad thing is that again, there were so many people that were involved, took this thing very, very seriously and again, we wanted the focus to be bringing her home. She got home. We’re very excited about that. It is what it is. The facts, I think last Wednesday pretty much showed that we knew that it was a hoax.

Speaker 10 (05:00):

Lisa Crane with WVTM 13. Do you know the extent you went to during this search, and if you don’t have a dollar figure for us, just how big it was for you guys?

Speaker 2 (05:12):

Well, it was all hands on deck and we don’t have a dollar figure yet. But we’re certainly working towards getting one, and not only ours but there’ll be other agencies that had a lot of support that they gave us and had monetary expenses themselves.

Speaker 11 (05:27):

Here. Jonathan, with J Lark Investigates. Are the parents under any investigation?

Speaker 2 (05:34):

No. As I said the other day, we were going to try to determine exactly those 49 hours. So right now anything’s on the table. We still don’t know what happened in those 49 hours. Where she was. Did she have any help? We have no idea. I read the statement from Mr. Anthony and that’s all we know.

Speaker 4 (05:50):

Keith Mims, WAGG 610 SummitMedia. Chief, let me ask you this. What do you think prompted or provoked Carlee to do this kind of thing, and are there any kind of mental issues that the police department or the public should be concerned about or just what?

Speaker 2 (06:12):

Not that I’m aware of. I mean this is a very elaborate deal. When you talk about calling a 911 and being up on the interstate. Again, it would all be conjecture. So really, I don’t know. I was hoping that we’d have an opportunity to interview and we’d be able to ask her those questions.

Speaker 4 (06:30):

Were any others involved in putting this story together for her?

Speaker 2 (06:34):

Mr. Anthony, in his statement, says there was not.

Speaker 3 (06:36):

Right here.

Speaker 12 (06:38):

Olivia Nakaomi, WBRC, Fox6 News. You said that you had a meeting scheduled and it kind of switched into a statement. Did they give any type of reason that switched?

Speaker 2 (06:53):

No, they did not.

Speaker 3 (06:54):

Back here.

Speaker 5 (06:54):

Aaron Luwel, WBC 13 [inaudible 00:06:54] is not in custody right now?

Speaker 2 (06:56):

That is correct. That is correct.

Speaker 3 (06:57):

Last question, David.

Speaker 7 (06:58):

David Lamb once again. So first of all, when did you actually see this letter? And second of all, do these admissions and the content of the letter alter the investigation at all?

Speaker 2 (07:10):

No, not at all. We’ll continue to investigate. We’ll still try to determine where she was during those 49 hours. But I am glad that we received this. It at least puts some of the social media super sleuth hopefully at rest for a little bit, as far as what everyone, the conjecture of what everybody thinks took place, we know that by her own ambition it didn’t happen and we’re thankful for that.

Speaker 3 (07:35):

All right, thank you guys very much.

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