Kidnapping of Sherri Papini
Sherri Papini was abducted on November 2, 2016, while out jogging a mile from her home in Redding, California. Papini was 34 years old at the time. She was found three weeks later on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, having been freed by her putative captors at 4:30 that morning still wearing restraints, on the side of County Road 17 near Interstate 5 in Yolo County, about 150 miles (240 km) south of where she was kidnapped.
The case garnered major media attention, with national law enforcement experts reporting doubts or otherwise baffled as to the unlikely details and inconsistencies of the reported abduction, while no arrests have been made and authorities report the investigation is ongoing as of December 2019.
Sherri's husband Keith Papini first became concerned when he returned from his job at Best Buy on November 2 and could not find his wife at home. He eventually used the "Find My iPhone" application to locate her cell phone and ear buds at the intersection of Sunrise Drive and Old Oregon Trail ( ), about a mile from their home.
According to Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, in interviews Papini said she was held by two Hispanic women who took steps to keep their faces hidden from her, either by wearing masks or by keeping Papini's head covered. Papini was branded on her right shoulder during her captivity but details of what the brand includes have not been revealed. According to a statement by her husband Keith Papini, Sherri was physically abused during her captivity, had her nose broken and her hair cut off, and weighed 87 pounds (40 kg) when she was released.
The sheriff said that this is still an active investigation and that authorities are "looking for a dark-colored SUV with two Hispanic females armed with a handgun." The sheriff indicated that there is sensitive information that is not being released at this time. Detectives have authored close to 20 search warrants and they said they’re examining cellphone records, bank accounts, email and social media profiles. Investigators have declined to discuss what prompted them to file the search warrants or why detectives have traveled out of state.
According to Bosenko, Keith Papini "has been cooperative and even volunteered for a polygraph, which he passed." However, Bosenko has not ruled out Papini as a suspect in the abduction, stating "We are keeping an open mind and looking at all avenues." Keith has been reported as possibly compromising the investigation with his statements to the media after Sherri was found.
Authorities decline to comment on specific details of the ongoing investigation but report they are actively pursuing the case. In November, while Papini was still missing, authorities executed more than 12 search warrants in Michigan. The FBI has provided assistance in the case.
Papini was found with male DNA on her person, seemingly at odds with her claim that two "Mexican women" abducted her. This male DNA was not her husband's DNA. This renewed significant public doubt about her claims of abduction, versus a voluntary escapade of some sort, particularly owing to the reported costs of law enforcement efforts and the extreme publicity her case received. These public doubts had previously lacked objective findings, prior to the male DNA found on her person being publicly reported.
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