The kidnapping of Sherri Papini caught the nation’s attention on November 2; that’s when the 34-year-old California mom of two simply vanished while jogging. Initial reports indicated that Sherri Papini had simply disappeared during her routine jog. Investigators found traces of Sherri (her iPhone and headphones and strands of her hair) along her usual path, but Papini was nowhere in sight.
As Heavy reports, the Sherri Papini kidnapping was initially treated as a simple missing person case. As the days and eventually weeks went by with no sign of the missing “supermom,” her husband, Keith Papini, reportedly voluntarily submitted to a polygraph test and passed with flying colors. He was never considered a suspect in Sherri’s disappearance and participated fully in the efforts to bring his wife home.
On Thanksgiving Day, what seemed to be a miracle took place. As People reports, that’s when Sherri Papini was found battered and chained near a rural California road. She was discovered at around 4:30 a.m. near Yolo (roughly 150 miles from where she vanished), and the woman who found her immediately called 911. In audio that can be heard here, Papini is described as being “heavily battered” and “chained to something.” It has been reported that her hands were also bound. Despite her condition, Sherri Papini had been able to flag down a passing car to secure her rescue.
While Papini was reportedly suffering from apparent injuries, after being treated at a local hospital, she was reunited with her husband and family, and her case went from being a “disappearance” to a “confirmed kidnapping.”
Since she was found, Sherri Papini has kept a low profile and asked the public and media for privacy as she continues to heal from her weeks-long ordeal. However, investigators have released some pertinent details in the case of the kidnapping of Sherri Papini in an attempt to bring her abductors to justice.
Police are reportedly looking for two armed Hispanic women in a dark SUV. No motive has been released in the Papini case, but law enforcement has warned the public to be cautious in the wake of a seemingly random and senseless crime.
@abc7newsbayarea I AM SO HAPPY SHE WAS FOUND. A REAL MIRACLE. SO MUCH CD/WD REALLY COME FROM EXPOSING THE REALITY OF WOMEN & >DANGERSofL.A.!— TINA-ARMAGEDDON (@HITLERnoIV) November 25, 2016
Papini’s sister, Sheila Koester, has also issued a public statement since Sherri was safely reunited with her family.
“This has been the most amazing Thanksgiving that our family could ever ask for. We’re all very, very, very excited, very, very relieved and just very thankful for getting our Sherri back.”
Despite the fact that the Sherri Papini kidnapping had the best outcome anyone could have hoped for, the investigation into the crime is far from over. The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office has sworn to find those responsible for kidnapping Sherri and bring them to justice. Anyone with information on the case has been asked to call the Tip Line at 530-245-6135 or Shasta County Secret Witness at 530-243-2319.
Even though Papini is now home safe and sound, the attention her kidnapping has received coupled with the mysterious circumstances of the case has some people questioning whether the California mom is telling the truth about her ordeal. In fact, some people believe that the whole thing could have been staged, and they have taken to social media to share their theories and concerns.
If you don't have the common sense ability to see that the whole #SherriPapini case was staged then you need to unfollow me right now...— The Trash Talker (@fantasybillions) November 25, 2016
This Sherri Papini thing is suspicious— Caden V (@ckrramirez3) November 26, 2016
@NorCalAlliance1 2 Hispanic woman kidnapped her huh Oh conveniently they had a heart & let her go for Thanksgiving. And the left her tied up— MIKE DENIRO (@MIKEDENIR0) November 26, 2016
Heavy is reporting that they had information indicating that Sherri Papini had staged her own kidnapping once before, a decade ago in 2006. That claim has not been verified.
Despite the widespread public doubt surrounding the Sherri Papini kidnapping story, police don’t appear to be questioning the young mother’s claims and have said so publicly.
“We currently have no reason to disbelieve Sherri Papini’s story. She was assaulted and had injuries which she was treated for.”
Even so, police have said that Sherri Papini’s past is currently being scrutinized as investigators try to piece together the truth of what happened to the 34-year-old. Included among what is being looked into are reportedly Papini’s online persona, as well as her past marriage and divorce.
It is also possible that the abductee could end up walking away with some of the $100,000 raised to pay any ransom demand that might arise in her case. As The Daily Mail reports, an anonymous donor got involved in the Sherri Papini kidnapping case early on, donating $50,000 toward any demanded ransom. Ironically, roughly 24 hours before the missing woman dramatically reappeared, that money was withdrawn. Reportedly, it was converted into a full $100,000 reward for information leading to the Papini’s rescue/recovery.
Because nobody ever claimed the $100,000 reward, it’s possible that Sherri Papini and her family could end up receiving that cash, or at least part of it. According to a ransom negotiator hired by the anonymous donor, that donor still desires to “support the family in any way he can to ensure they receive the necessary treatment for their recovery.” Whether or not Papini and her family get any part of the money will be solely at the discretion of that same donor.
In addition to the $100,000 anonymously donated, a GoFundMe campaign was launched in Sherri Papini’s name just days after she vanished, and has raised nearly $50,000. The GoFundMe campaign was created by Sherri’s husband Keith, according to the information on the page. As of November 28, it is no longer collecting funds. However, according to the comments on the crowdfunding campaign, people were still donating after they learned that the Sherri Papini kidnapping had come to a happy conclusion.
“I am so thankful Sherri has been found. I wanted to still donate as I’m sure the family can use this for healing. May god always look over you.”
It is unknown at this point what will become of the money raised through the GoFundMe campaign. According to its page, it was raised for a specific purpose.
“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!”
Now that Sherri Papini is home safe and her kidnapping ordeal at an end, no updates to the page have been made indicating how the funds may be allocated or if they may be returned to donors.
[Featured Image by Shasta County Sheriff’s Office]