Carlee Russell may be on the hook for part of investigative costs, reaching over $100k: Former FBI agent

Carlee Russell could be on the hook for at least part of the cost of the law enforcement investigation into her disappearance which ended up being a hoax, according to a former FBI agent.

Russell, 24, went missing on July 13 at around 9:34 p.m. after reporting a toddler walking along the southbound side of Interstate 459 near Birmingham, Alabama, according to the Hoover Police Department.

The 24-year-old woman returned home at around 10:45 p.m. and police say she was seen walking along the sidewalk in the area beforehand.

Through her attorney, Emery Anthony, Russell admitted to never seeing a baby on Interstate 459 or being abducted.

"My client did not have any help in this incident. This was a single act done by herself," the statement said. "My client was not with anyone or any hotel with anyone from 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 and to her friends and family."

Former FBI Special Agent Jonathan Gilliam told Fox News Digital that Russell may be on the hook for portions of the cost of the investigation, which he says likely surpasses $100,000.

"You know, you're looking at dozens of man hours plus the fact that somebody could get wrongly convicted or killed or, you know, so the the the cost and the safety of it adds up very quickly."

Gilliam also said that for this type of investigation, officers were likely pulled off other investigations to assist in finding Russell.

He said that the amount of money Russell will be forced to pay back depends on her income level.

"If she works at some kind of a massage therapy place, you know, she's not making enough money to pay all that stuff back. So she may get a fine, but it won't be enough to pay back the man hours that were used," Gilliam said.

Jefferson County Chief Assistant District Attorney Lane Tolbert told Fox News Digital on Thursday that police are seeking to charge Russell with false reporting to law enforcement authorities and falsely reporting an incident, both of which are misdemeanors and carry a maximum punishment of one year in jail.

When asked when charges would be filed, Tolbert said "we are just advisors."

Get updates on this story at