An Alabama lawyer has outlined the possible crimes Carlee Russell may have committed after police haven’t been able to verify her claims about her 49-hour disappearance.
The 25-year-old claims she was kidnapped, but police have shared her internet search history which suggests the ordeal may have been staged.
Birmingham lawyer Eric Guster, a longtime criminal defense attorney, told WVTM13 that he, like many others, grew interested in the case. He added that the message coming from the police was clear.
“She says she was kidnapped, and a kidnapping didn’t happen. (They say) our citizens are safe. There’s not a kidnapper out there. So, they use every other synonym for lie except saying she lied,” he told the local TV station.
The attorney added that the search for Ms Russell wasted time and funds for both the police and members of the community.
Elijah Blanchard, the father of murder victim Aniah Blanchard, wrote on Facebook that the case had torn his back wounds open and that it wasn’t okay to involve his family in the search efforts.
“Imagine going and searching for someone, and they’re off doing something else, and they’re never in danger. And you’re thinking about saving this person’s daughter, and yours was not saved. Beyond angry, super alive. That would be me,” Mr Guster told WVTM13.
He added that this story could affect future cases where people actually went missing.
“It’s going to be much more difficult for African American women to be believed, and it may actually decrease the number of actual reports of things because people are already afraid that they won’t be believed,” the attorney said, adding that Ms Russell needs a lawyer.
“If I was Carlee’s attorney, I would speak for her,” he said. “I would not allow her to speak to the police because anything she says can and will be used against her. I would speak for her. I would go to the major – I would go to the police chief and figure out if there’s something we could do. That’s what I would do.”
Mr Guster added that the police have outlined three crimes that Ms Russell may be guilty of – theft, lying to authorities and filing a false police report.
The attorney noted his surprise that she’s yet to be arrested.