In a surprising turn of events, Candace Owens, a well-known conservative commentator, has offered to pay the nearly $18,000 restitution recommended by a Hoover municipal judge for Carlee Russell, provided Russell appears on Owens’ show to discuss the 48 hours she falsely claimed to have been abducted.
On her October 13 episode, Owens publicly proposed the arrangement, stating, “I will pay the $18,000 fine if you sit down with me and give me a one-on-one on where you were for the 48 hours… America deserves to know.”
On October 11, Hoover Municipal Judge Brad Bishop declared Russell guilty of falsely reporting to law enforcement. Bishop recommended a one-year jail sentence and restitution of $17,874, along with two additional fines of $831 each. Russell is currently appealing these recommendations.
Owens, who has consistently covered the Russell incident, expressed a personal connection to the story, even vowing to visit Russell regularly if she ends up serving prison time.
This series of events began on July 13 when Russell mysteriously disappeared after making a distressing 911 call about witnessing a toddler on I-459. The call abruptly ended with a scream. This triggered extensive search operations, stoking widespread public fear. Two days later, Russell reappeared at her parent’s Hoover residence, claiming she had been abducted.
However, subsequent investigations painted a different story. It was uncovered that Russell had left her workplace, Woodhouse Day Spa, taking certain items and had made a couple of purchases from local establishments. Her belongings were found scattered near her vehicle. In her only police interview post-return, Russell spun a detailed tale of her abduction, including escaping the clutches of her captors on multiple occasions.
Nevertheless, inconsistencies in her account, combined with the absence of any corroborating evidence or witnesses, raised suspicions. Eventually, under legal counsel, Russell confessed that the entire abduction episode was a fabrication.
Police Chief Derzis highlighted the gravity of her actions, noting that it not only caused unnecessary panic among citizens but also drained valuable resources, with numerous agencies working tirelessly on a kidnapping case that never was.
With a court appearance looming and the public still baffled by her actions, the offer by Owens might be a way for Russell to finally provide some answers. Emory Anthony, Russell’s attorney, remained tight-lipped when asked about his client’s whereabouts during her alleged disappearance, directing questions to the Alabama attorney general’s office.