Carlee Russell finally revealed Thursday why she faked her kidnapping last summer in a case that spurred nationwide panic as she pleaded guilty to two charges and avoided jail time.

Carlee Russell

Carlee Russell

The 26-year-old nursing student apologized for falsely reporting seeing a baby crawling alongside an Alabama highway just minutes before she seemingly vanished, only to turn up two days later without explanation.

“I made a grave mistake while trying to fight through various emotional issues and stress,” Russell told the court through tears.

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Russell pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges of false reporting to law enforcement authorities and falsely reporting an incident.

Although the Jefferson County judge acknowledged that Russell’s actions set off a nationwide panic, he said it would be a waste of government resources to put her behind bars because she does not pose a threat to the community.

Instead, she was sentenced to one-year probation, community service, and mental health counseling and ordered to pay $17,974.88 in restitution to the city of Hoover.

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Russell initially told cops she was abducted by a white man with orange hair — a lie that quickly fell apart when cops revealed that she had googled the kidnap-themed action film “Taken” and the AMBER Alert system in the days before.

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By GIL