Sherri Papini kidnapping hoax

Sherri Papini is an American woman known for having disappeared on November 2, 2016, reportedly while out jogging a mile from her home in Redding, California.[1] Papini was 34 years old at the time. She reappeared three weeks later on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, having been reportedly freed by her 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 disappeared.[2]

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.

In August 2020 she stood by her story when questioned by a federal agent and a detective from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, despite being advised that it was a crime to lie to a federal agent. Papini was charged with mail fraud as she had received over $30,000 from the California Victim Compensation Board between 2017 and 2021. On March 3, 2022, Papini was arrested on charges of making false statements to federal law enforcement officers and for mail fraud. According to the Department of Justice, Papini fabricated the story of her abduction. She had reportedly been staying with a former boyfriend, James Reyes, during the time she was supposedly missing and had harmed herself in order to give credence to her lies.

On March 9, 2022, Papini was released from jail before her trial on a $120,000 bond and after surrendering her passport.[3] She and her lawyer had no comment on the allegations against her.[3] Papini had faced up to 25 years in prison between the charges of mail fraud and lying to a federal officer.[3] However, six weeks after her arrest, Papini signed a plea deal admitting that she had orchestrated the hoax.[4] In September 2022, she was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $300,000.[5]

Background Edit

Sherri Louise Graeff was born on June 11, 1982. She married Keith Papini in October 2009. The couple have two children together, one son and one daughter. On March 3, 2022, the day on which Sherri was arrested on federal charges, the couple separated. In April 2022, a few days after Sherri pleaded guilty to fraud charges, Keith filed for divorce from his wife and for sole custody of their children.[6]

Timeline Edit

Sherri's husband Keith Papini first became concerned when he returned from his job at Best Buy on November 2, 2016, 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.[7]

According to Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko,[8] 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 included have not been revealed.[9] When investigators questioned Sherri at a later date, she claimed that it looked like a verse from the Book of Exodus, but she did not provide any solid evidence behind this vague claim.[10] According to a statement[11] 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.

At that time, the sheriff said it was still an active investigation and authorities were "looking for a dark-colored SUV with two Hispanic females armed with a handgun."[12] Detectives had authored close to 20 search warrants, including some in Michigan, and said they were examining cellphone records, bank accounts, email and social media profiles.[13][14] The FBI provided assistance in the case.[15]

Papini was found with both male and female DNA on her, neither of which matched her or her husband. The FBI ran the samples through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and found no matches. In March 2022, it was reported that DNA found on her clothing matched that of an ex-boyfriend, James Reyes, who confirmed that Papini stayed with him at his residence in Southern California during the time she was allegedly kidnapped.[16]

Legal proceedings Edit

On March 3, 2022, Sherri Papini was arrested by the FBI, accused of lying to federal agents and faking her kidnapping to spend time with her ex-boyfriend, away from her husband and family.[17][18] Six weeks after her arrest, Papini signed a plea deal admitting that she had orchestrated the hoax.[4]

In September 2022, she was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $300,000.[5] Papini was released from prison in August 2023 and placed in a halfway house.[19]

Media coverage and in popular culture Edit

At the time of her purported kidnapping, Papini's disappearance was featured extensively in national news, including Good Morning America, 20/20, True Crime Daily, MSNBC, NBC Evening News, Inside Edition, ABC Evening News, The Today Show, The Daily Mail, Primetime Justice on HLN, Us Weekly, Fox News, and the cover of People Magazine.[20]

Since the story was confirmed a hoax, it was again featured in national media coverage on ABC Evening News, CBS Mornings, Good Morning America, NBC News, CNBC, Dr. Phil, Inside Edition, USA Today, Court TV, People Magazine, and The Today Show. The Papini case was also profiled in an episode of Dateline NBC, entitled "The Curious Case of Sherri Papini", Reelz Investigates: Sherri Papini, HLN Investigates "Runaway Mom: The Sherri Papini Story", Oxygen's "Sherri Papini: Lies, Lies, and More Lies" and was the subject of many true-crime podcasts.

The first scripted film based on the hoax is the 2023 Lifetime's television film, Hoax: The Kidnapping of Sherri Papini, with Jaime King playing Sherri Papini. The lead detective was depicted as female and played by Lossen Chambers, while in real life the lead detective was Shasta County Sheriff Sergeant Kyle Wallace.[21][22][23]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ Thorbecke, Catherine (November 24, 2016). "Missing California 'Super Mom' Found Alive, Bound by Road, Sheriff Says". ABC News. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  2. ^ "Sheriff: Sherri Papini Was Kidnapped; Captors Still At Large". CBS Sacramento. November 24, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Romero, Dennis (March 9, 2022). "Sherri Papini, California woman who allegedly made up abduction, freed on bond". NBC News. Retrieved March 29, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Stanton, Sam (April 12, 2022). "California 'Super Mom' will admit her 'kidnap' was all a hoax, accept plea deal". Yahoo! News.
  5. ^ a b "Sherri Papini: US woman who staged her own disappearance sentenced to 18 months". BBC News. September 19, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  6. ^ Romine, Taylor (April 22, 2022). "Husband of Sherri Papini, woman who faked 2016 kidnapping, files for divorce and child custody". CNN. Retrieved March 29, 2023.
  7. ^ "Sherri Papini Found Alive, Claims She Was Abducted by Two Hispanic Women". Inquisitr. November 29, 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  8. ^ "Full Text Of Nov 30 Press Conference About Sherri Papini's Abduction". CBS Sacramento. November 30, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  9. ^ Heise, Sarah (November 7, 2017). "New video shows Sherri Papini moments before she was found". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  10. ^ "Sherri Papini- Feds detail how missing mom branded, starved self in 2016 kidnapping hoax". Kiro 7. March 9, 2022. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  11. ^ Serna, Joseph (November 30, 2016). "Sherri Papini's husband might have compromised kidnapping probe with public comments, sheriff says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  12. ^ "Papini found : At 5 minute and 35 second mark". November 25, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ Sabalow, Ryan (November 25, 2016). "CA kidnapping: Questions remain after missing California mom Sherri Papini reappears". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  14. ^ Adam Carlson (2017). How Detectives Continue to Dig on the Case of Calif. Mom Who Said She Was Abducted on a Jog, People. April 3, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017
  15. ^ Sabalow, Ryan (January 30, 2017). "Two months after Sherri Papini reappeared, here's what we know about the investigation". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  16. ^ Dowd, Katie (March 6, 2022). "FBI affidavit unravels astounding claims about California mom Sherri Papini". Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  17. ^ "Sherri Papini, accused of faking 2016 kidnapping, injured herself to further her hoax, feds say". Yahoo! News. Retrieved March 4, 2022.
  18. ^ Andone, Dakin (March 8, 2022). "California woman's alleged fake abduction cost the public hundreds of thousands of dollars, authorities say". CNN. Retrieved March 29, 2023.
  19. ^ Neumann, Sean (August 28, 2023). "Sherri Papini Released from Prison After Sentence for Faking Kidnapping". People Magazine.
  20. ^ Solis, Nathan (December 1, 2016). "National media descend on Redding for Papini case". Redding Record Searchlight. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  21. ^ "We watched Lifetime's movie on Sherri Papini's fake kidnapping. Here's what it got right". Sacramento Bee. January 27, 2023.
  22. ^ Bobbin, Jay (January 27, 2023). "Lifetime movie dramatizes the Sherri Papini kidnapping 'Hoax'". Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Zap2it. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  23. ^ "Jaime King Explains What Made Her "Mad" About Sherri Papini's Hoax Kidnapping Case". E! Online. January 28, 2023.

External links Edit