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Sherri Papini: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Sherri Papini

Sherri Papini. (Shasta County Sheriff’s Office)

A 34-year-old wife and mother of two was found alive, but beaten and chained, alongside a highway in California three weeks after disappearing in an apparent abduction, police say.

Sherri Papini went missing after leaving her home in Redding, California, on November 2 for a late morning jog, CNN reports.

Police and volunteers scrambled to search the rural area near where Papini had last been seen, but were not able to find her. They did locate an iPhone, earbud headphones and strands of what was believed to be Papini’s hair along a jogging path she frequented, authorities siad.

Papini was then found Thanksgving morning alongside an interstate in Yolo County, about 140 miles from where she went missing, police said.

Police have said the investigation is active and they are searching for two women suspected in the abduction, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Many members of the public believe Papini may have “staged” her own abduction for fame and fortune.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. She Was Found ‘Heavily Battered’ & Chained

“We are very ecstatic to report that Sherri Papini has been located, and has been reunited with her husband and family on this Thanksgiving Day,” Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said in a news conference, which you can watch above.

Papini was found in the early hours of Thanksgiving morning after flagging down a motorist along an interstate, CNN reported.

A 911 call between a dispatcher and deputies revealed that Papini was “chained to something,” and also “heavily battered.” One deputy said the California Highway Patrol advised that it was a “confirmed kidnapping.” She was reportedly found on northbound I-5 just south of Yolo.

You can listen to the 911 call here.

The beauty was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening and reunited with her husband, Keith Papini, according to Bosenko.

In an interview with 20/20 that aired December 2, Keith described the moment his wife was allegedly freed, and said she desperately tried to flag down passing motorists.

“Her left hand was in the vehicle chained to something, she was chained anytime she was in a vehicle. They opened the door, she doesn’t know because she had a bag over her head, they cut something to free her restraint that was holding her into the vehicle and then, kind of, pushed her out of the vehicle,” Keith told 20/20‘s Matt Gutman.

“She screamed so much, she’s coughing up blood from the screaming trying to get somebody to stop,” Keith, who has two children with Papini, continued. “And again just another sign of how my wife is, she’s so wonderful. She’s saying, ‘Well maybe people aren’t stopping because I have a chain that looks like I broke out of prison,’ so she tried to tuck in her chain under her clothes.”

Keith went onto explain that he spent many sleepless nights not knowing where his wife was. “I was just worried about her health,” he told 20/20. “Are they feeding her? Is she hot? Is she cold? Just little horrible things that I would go through.”

You can watch a preview of the interview below:

In a statement obtained by People, Keith said Sherri’s face was “covered in bruises ranging from yellow to black because of her repeated beatings.” He went onto explain that she only weighed 87lbs. and that her hair had been cut.

On November 30, authorities revealed that Papini was allegedly branded by her abductors. “I would think that was some sort of either an exertion of power and control and/or maybe some type of message that the brand contained,” Bosenko said. “It is not a symbol, but it was a message.”

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Sherri Papini went missing November 2, and was found battered and chained, but alive on Thanksgiving Day. Read more and see photos of the woman here.

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2. Authorities Are Searching for 2 Hispanic Women

Officials said that they were looking for two Hispanic women driving a dark colored SUV, and said they were suspected to be armed with a handgun.

The sheriff said authorities did not know who the captors were, a motive or where Papini was held during the time she was missing.

The public should remain cautious,” Bosenko said.

On November 30, Bosenko said Papini’s alleged abductors covered her head or their own faces, so Papini wasn’t able provide a detailed description of the two. However, after intense interviewing, Papini was able to come up with two descriptions. “The younger one [has] long curly hair, a thick accent, pierced ears and thin eyebrows,” Bosenko said. “She described the older one as having straight black hair with graying color and thick eyebrows.”

Papini’s husband spoke about the search to 20/20 before his wife was found. “There was a moment where we were heading back after we did a few mile search and we look up and we start to see birds circling,” Keith said. “And I went to my knees and I thought, ‘Am I really hiking out here to look for my wife and I don’t want to find her right now, but I do want to find her’…that was a tough one for me that day.”

Anyone with information linked to the disappearance or subsequent release of Papini is asked to call the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at 530-245-6135,
or Shasta County Secret Witness at 530-243-2319. You may also email a tip to the sheriff’s office: mcu@co.shasta.ca.us.

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3. Sheriff: ‘The Investigation Is Far From Over’

Bosenko confirmed at a news conference that while they have more information than the few details that have been released, he could not go into more details at this time. However, he said that “the investigation is far from over.”

The sheriff also asked that the media respect the family’s privacy.

Papini’s sister, Sheila Koester, told the Sacramento Bee that the family is elated to be reunited with her.

“This has been the most amazing Thanksgiving that our family could ever ask for,” Koester told the station Friday. “We’re all very, very, very excited, very, very relieved and just very thankful for getting our Sherri back.”

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4. Some Are Questioning Whether the Kidnapping Was Staged

While many people are celebrating the fact that Papini was found alive, others are claiming that the kidnapping may have been a hoax.

An anonymous source told Heavy that they were advised that Papini’s “extended family” claimed she had staged her own abduction in 2006.

Others are expressing their disbelief via social media. “I saw a news report that stated she gave a ‘vague’ description of her abductors,” PlanoJoe commented on a Denver Post article. “Again, seems odd it would be so vague given she was with them for 3 weeks. She just said they are hispanic and are driving a dark SUV. Gee, two hispanic women driving a dark SUV. Can’t be more than a few thousand of those across the roadways of America at any given moment.”

A Reddit user who uses the handle nickdaisy wrote:

Something is not right here. It’s possible she was taken and then released relatively unharmed weeks later– but it’d be an exceptional case. Kidnapping for ransom in the US is very rare. Keeping someone for weeks and then releasing them without compensation is even rarer.

“I have heard of kidnappers releasing victims by the road, and all that seems a little extreme to cover up an affair, but hey, stranger things have happened,” Reddit user blanca93 said. “I certainly hope nobody in the situation would lie about something so serious, but only time and more information will tell.”

“My investigative antennas are on alert on this one,” Ray Helmuth posted to Facebook. “I’ll be the first to say, I guess, that the true story of what happened is yet to come-too many unusual aspects, so far, to the narrative that’s been released to the public on what has been stated that happened.”

Papini’s sister, Sheila Koester, released the following statement on behalf of Papini and her husband at a news conference:

We are overwhelmed with joy of how supportive everyone has been to help bring us together as a family again. We especially would like to thank the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, The NorCal Alliance for the Missing, the Lost Coast Trackers, Shasta Support Services, the Guardian Angels — our A-Team — the California Highway Patrol, Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, the medical personnel that helped Sherri that morning, and the whole world that reached out to help find her.
Everyone’s tireless efforts has made our family whole again this Thanksgiving. Thank you for allowing our family time to heal and for giving us our privacy. Your help in keeping this alive through social media and national news was an intricate part in bringing her home to us. We cannot thank you enough.

Adding even more mystery to the case is an anonymous website that offered ransom and reward money for information leading to the return of Papini. The Sun reported that “a check of the site around the time of the sheriff’s office’s announcement [that Papini had been found] showed it was blank.”

The sheriff stated at a news conference that money had nothing to do with Papini’s safe recovery.

“We currently have no reason to disbelieve Sherri Papini’s story,” Bosenko said, according to ABC News. “She was assaulted and had injuries which she was treated for.”

He added that investigators are looking into Papini’s past, which includes a previous marriage, divorce and online activity, ABC reported.

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5. A GoFundMe Account Raised Nearly $50,000 to Help Find Her

Sherri Papini's Gofundme Account. (Gofundme/screenshot)

Sherri Papini’s Gofundme Account. (Gofundme/screenshot)

The Gofundme account set up to help find Papini raised $49,205, according to the site. The page was no longer accepting donations at the time of this article.

The page was created on November 4, two days after Papini went missing. It stated:

Friends, Family, and Community: Please Help us in Raising Money to BRING SHERRI HOME SAFE. All Funds will go directly to the Papini family and will be used for search efforts to Find Sherri and to Help bring her home Safely. Every Dollar Counts as time is critical. Thanks!

Click here for photos of the “abducted” mother.

Click here for photos of the “abducted” California mom.

*This story will be updated as information becomes available.

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45 comments

  1. in case you have some free time use it to get a little extra money online; visit the línk listed on my profile for more ìnfo

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  2. My intuition on this one tells me Sherri is completely nuts. I think she faked an abduction back in 2006 and now did it again. I think the families response was a huge show to Sherri to prove they care about her. She was probably overwhemed and had a crazy break and ran off, faking an abduction. Husband immediately played into it saying he was sure she was abducted. The rest was a bad tv cop show plot to lure her back home. Her mother shares recipies and plays facebook games while she is gone, they all immediately scramble to validate her worth as supermom, they don’t tell the kids, but promise them she will be back by Thanksgiving. We have all been wrapped around the pinky of a world class looney bird if you ask me.

    She is classic narrsistic personality disorder. All for attention. And not the first time she has been ‘abducted’. Once in 2006 she faked it. Her family is on to her. They just made a pile of money.

    • Right… why exactly did they need a go fund me account worth $50k to help bring her home…. no ransom was made, so…. the family just keeps the money for….???

      • for….a private investigator and/or any number of resources that could be used that don’t come free! My head tells me to wait a bit. She was brutalized. Who did that? A tree in the woods? Why are we just now finding out about some fake abduction and/or plot in 2006? First I’ve heard of it. Pretty convenient for that story to surface now. As for recipe sharing, playing Facebook games and trying to lead some sort of normal life –I’m not judging that. What’s the mom supposed to do? Check herself into a hospital for mental anguish to satisfy people? You remind me of people that don’t show enough emotion when someone goes missing, or the classic one, referring to someone in the past when they haven’t been found. Ooooh. That person had something to do with the disappearance. Honestly.

        • I agree! I mean what if she was really abducted? Now to add to her mental agony there are all these rumors that she’s faking it when something truly horrific might have really happened to her……

      • There is a lot more to this story. You do not know if a ransom was made or not. Limiting information to the public is for a reason as example of all these comments.Let the police do their job..

        • I hope law enforcement get to the bottom of this very SUSPICIOUS KIDNAPPING!!! Hummm 2 Hispanics females… Something is missing!!!

    • So your intuition is based on someone who allegedly told someone, who allegedly told someone that the family allegedly said she faked her own abduction back in 2006? Sounds like solid evidence to me.

  3. Her in laws say she staged her own disappearance back in 2006. Years ago this woman was a client of mine. I did not want to mention the following story when this news had first broken of her supposed abduction just in case something really bad did happen to her. But now I feel compelled to tell everyone about my experience with this woman.

    Years ago she arrived at my office early for her appointment and texted me that my door was locked. She then discovered the text I had sent her two hours before saying that I may be 30 minutes to an hour behind schedule due to a personal issue I was handling, so I told her just to come in an hour after her scheduled appointment. Mind you I am in the beauty business so my services are not life or death matters. Sherri became so hysterical and flew into such histrionic crying that my then landlord who was also a mortgage lender and worked in the same building, came out to console her and bring her back to his office where she could collect herself. I was been inundated with phone calls from him and other people in the offices of that building. My landlord even seemed to be reprimanding me for putting Sherri through such distress.

    When I later contacted Sherri, I told her that her behavior was absolutely unnecessary and humiliating for me and that if this is something that might happen again that it would be better if she went elsewhere to someone else. She then became very irate, demanding that I keep providing services for her. I told her I did not feel comfortable or motivated to do that. Then she told me she wanted me to disclose to her what products I use because of their excellent performance for the particular service I provided. I told her that was a trade secret and that I was not obligated to provide anything but the ingredient information for her, as my product brands and supplier gave me a competitive edge in the area. She then threatened to give me a poor review on Google or Yahoo, as I don’t think yelp had quite made it onto the scene yet. So I told her about a product that I had long since stopped using because it had such a poorer performance than the one I was actually using at the time. She reminded me of a demanding, foot stomping, tyrannical brat, standing there and threatening me in my own office. But I was finally rid of her.

      • Cynthia’s story is absolutely relevant, she’s telling us how Sherri over reacted to her hair appointment being delayed by over just an hour which to me says a whole heck of alot about her mental state, as i am also a hairdresser and has had to reschedule many appointments either for personal reasons or just because i was running behind with a client and not one time have i ever had a client get hysterical and so out of control with her emotions that she needed to be consoled. Also how dare her think for one minute Cynthia would reveal the hair color she used on her after that psycho just humiliated her in front of all those people. A hair appointment is not a life or death situation unless of course it was on a brides wedding day, then i could understand.

        • Cynthia’s story is completely irrelevant, because we have no way to verify any of Cynthia’s claims. We can’t even verify if “Cynthia”, is really Cynthia.

    • From one hair stylist to another. A question I have been wondering since Thanksgiving, and wondered why no one asked this question in interviews? Was Sherry’s hair cut off or dyed during her captivity? I would think that two hateful Hispanic woman as Sherry has implied would not just beat her, they would most likely cut her hair off or dye it. You get where I’m going with that question. I keep asking but no one seems to know.

    • You think this story is helpful now? She’s obviously been kidnapped, and it’s not uncommon in Redding. Remember Tera Smith? Because you claim to have a beef with her doesn’t mean she wasn’t abducted. Might provide a motive to another unstable person that she had similar beef with? Cops are convinced it’s real. Can’t tighten hose clamps on yourself. She may be a difficult person. Has no bearing on her abduction.

      • Many people in the Redding area, including the Smith family (according to past interviews on local media) believe Tera was not abducted, but killed by her martial arts instructor, with whom she had an affair. Terribly sad. And that was 18 years ago, so even if she had been abducted it wouldn’t make it “not uncommon in Redding”.

  4. I can’t help thinking back to that Dirty Harry movie where the bad guy pays a thug to punch his face so he looks bad on Media Day when he accuses Callahan of Police Brutality.

  5. I must admit it looks EXTREMELY fishy. Extremely fishy to say the least. But hey, I’m not involved in the investigation, so I’m not privy to any details.

  6. I don’t believe any of her story. Her rant on the skinhead site prove she has a hatred for latinos but in particular “Latino women”. Once I heard she blamed Latina women I was done! Her Pinterest reveals a lot about her as well. Her hate for minorities especially illegals. Her board labeled “alter ego” showed her obsession with the stepford wives (creepy)…her marriage blog was also proof she lies and manipulated how she describes her life. My only thing now is finding out about this 2006 claim to be abducted!! I’m hoping someone will come forward and validate that. Needless to say I’m just done with her psycho ass taking attention off real missing victims.

    • She removed the ‘alter ego’ board from Pinterest. Also saw on the news that her cell phone was ‘placed’ on the grass with cords on top not thrown as it would with an abduction. Wonder if she was participating in those ‘spirit dinners’ I’ve been reading about lately.

  7. I hope law enforcement get to the bottom of this very SUSPICIOUS KIDNAPPING!!! Hummm 2 Hispanics females… Something is missing!!!

  8. This one is real. I bet we’re looking at some kind of sexual deviants that live up there, meth addicts maybe they thought they could break her and turn her into a prostitute sexual trafficking but this is definitely real. I’m a retired investigator and I’ve seen a lot of funny ones like Susan Smith or Charlie Rogers and I’ve seen real ones and this one is real it’s insulting to keep saying that it’s not she had hose clamps around her wrists you can’t tighten those yourself you don’t break your own nose you don’t brand yourself and sexually assault yourself. I knew it was real when they found her hair with her phone and her headset pray for this family they’re nice people and stop being cynical for no other reason than just being cynical I believe this girl and I’m smarter than you. The two perps probably were recently incarcerated, probably have beefs with Aryan Nation and resentments and were looking for a white girl to torture maybe they thought this girl was younger and they could sell her and for some reason she got lucky and they didn’t kill her.

  9. This is Totally a hoax, the husband faking emotions, don’t know the reason but terrible,what 4 year old tells dad”you can tell me anything” nuts