On November 2, Sherri Papini disappeared without a trace; she was found brutalized and branded on Thanksgiving morning, apparently the victim of a violent kidnapping. Now, disturbing new details from the 34-year-old California “super mom’s” past have been revealed, and they have some people raising their eyebrows with regard to her mysterious, still unsolved disappearance.
Nearly from the beginning, the story of Sherri Papini and her vanishing was inexplicable. The beautiful blonde wife and mom-of-two simply disappeared on November 2. As MSN reports, her alleged kidnapping was discovered when she didn’t pick her children up from daycare as scheduled. According to her husband, Keith Papini, Sherri would never have simply bailed on her kids.
Concerned, Keith Papini returned to his Mountain Gate, California, home (north of Sacramento in Shasta County), tracking his wife’s cell phone via mobile locator app. He later told police that he found Sherri’s phone alongside a dirt road a mile away from the couple’s residence, near I-5. Sherri Papini was nowhere to be found, and before long, police were working under the theory that the petite young wife had been the victim of a kidnapping.
Interestingly, according to detectives working the case, Sherri’s phone was found as though it had been neatly placed on the ground, screen upright, headphones tightly wound on top. At the time, police say that there was no sign of a struggle, aside from a few strands of Papini’s hair.
Despite a massive search effort, neither police, nor Sherri Papini’s family, were able to locate the missing woman for weeks. Then, on Thanksgiving morning, Sherri was inexplicably found wandering near I-5 in Yolo County. She was reportedly badly injured and partially bound, and saved by a passing motorist who reported seeing her. Police say that upon being interviewed, she told them that she had indeed been the victim of a kidnapping. According to Sherri Papini, who has never spoken publicly about her alleged ordeal, she was taken at gunpoint by two Hispanic women. She claimed that they cut her hair, savagely beat her, and even branded her before releasing her.
“She was bound. She had a chain around her waist. She had a bag over her head. 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 [a] restraint that was holding her into the vehicle and then kind of pushed her out of the vehicle, and she at this point has no idea where she’s at. She ran to the freeway.”
Her injuries were reportedly consistent with her claims.
While many on traditional and social media were suspicious of her tale after she was found, with some branding it a “hoax,” police released a statement on November 30 that seemed to substantiate the validity of Sherri Papini’s kidnapping story.
“All the information that we have right now we have no reason to believe that she is making this up.”
Despite police statements that seemingly validated Sherri Papini’s kidnapping tale, and despite the fact that her husband, Keith, graphically detailed her injuries to the public after she was discovered, many internet sleuths weren’t buying her story. A handful of conspiracy theorists continued to call her claim of kidnapping and abuse a hoax, and some armchair detectives set out to prove it.
It was revealed in November that a woman by the name of “Sherri Graeff” (Sherri Papini’s maiden name) once claimed authorship of a post on a white supremacist website, Skinheadz.com. While the website is no longer functional, the post described a young white woman’s travails growing up in Shasta County (where Papini disappeared), including getting into two fights with Hispanic people and claiming to have been targeted due to being proud of her “blood and heritage,” as well as “drug-free, white and proud.”
Papini and her family have denied that Sherri was the author of that post.
Sherri Papini’s husband addressed the hoax rumors himself, calling out those who would dare question his wife’s story.
“I understand people want the story, pictures, proof that this was not some sort of hoax, plan to gain money, or some fabricated race war. I do not see a purpose in addressing each preposterous lie.”
Also, during Sherri Papini’s disappearance, a GoFundMe campaign was created by her husband. Since she was found alive, the campaign has stopped accepting donations. However, while it was live, it raised nearly $50,000, which presumably went to the Papini family. According to the campaign’s final update, the public’s “generosity and concern” were appreciated by the Papini family.
“Thank you all so much for your donations. I am very happy that the Papini family asked me to help get this GoFundMe account established. Your generosity, concern and prayers are very much appreciated by the Papini family.”
It was also previously reported by Inquisitr that Sherri Papini and her family could end up receiving part of a $100,000 reward that had been established for information leading to her safe return.
Not long after Sherri Papini was reunited with her family following her alleged kidnapping, Us Weekly reported that the Papini family skipped town, moving away to an undisclosed location. According to sources close to Sherri and her family, they are now living with “wealthy relatives up North.”
Now, in the midst of all of the previous questions about the validity of Sherri Papini’s kidnapping claims, new details about the so-called “super mom’s” past have been brought to light. Details that some say call her story even further into question.
According to documents obtained by the Sacramento Bee, Sherri Papini has a history of harming herself and blaming her injuries on another person. Thirteen years prior to her alleged 2016 kidnapping, Sherri’s own mother called Shasta County detectives (the same department that would later handle her missing person case) to report something horrifying.
According to Loretta Graeff, her daughter Sherri had been hurting herself and blaming the injuries on her mom. The police report was made in December, 2003, and the Sacramento Bee was reportedly able to obtain the official incident report only after making numerous requests via the California’s Public Records Act. The details of the 2003 incident are slim: two short sentences detailing the allegations of Sherri’s mom.
Responding to the new information, Shasta County sheriff’s Lt. Pat Kropholler said that the department offered the distraught mother advice for handling her then-21-year-old daughter. The report doesn’t confirm or deny whether or not Sherri had actually harmed herself at the time.
The self-harming incident is just one of several incidents reported against Sherri Papini (then Graeff) by her family members between 2000 and 2003. According to multiple police reports, Sherri was accused of burglarizing her father’s home in 2000, and then taking money from his checking account (without authorization) in 2003. Her sister, Sheila Koester, who frequently spoke out on Sherri’s behalf during her alleged kidnapping ordeal, reported her in 2000 because she suspected that Sherri had kicked in her back door.
Lt. Kropholler would not confirm or deny whether or not Sherri (Graeff) Papini had ever been charged in connection with those incidents.
The Graeff family has refused to comment about the recently uncovered glimpse into Sherri Papini’s past.
Lt. Kropholler further refused to comment on the investigation into the Sherri Papini kidnapping in light of these new revelations, other than to say that the investigation is still active and ongoing, and that a detective has remained in contact with the Papini family despite their abrupt move away from the area.
“The Papini case is still active and the investigation is ongoing. I realize there is a lot of interest in Mrs. Papini and the details of her case. However, I am sure you can understand the necessity of maintaining the integrity of the investigation. Please be assured that when it is appropriate to release any further information regarding this case we will do so.”
At least one criminology expert, James Alan Fox from Northeastern University, says that the alarming new details from Sherri’s past do cast some doubt on her kidnapping claims.
“It’s certainly not proof (of a hoax), but it makes her story even more suspicious.”
While she was missing, investigators executed 14 search warrants in connection with the Sherri Papini case, all of which are still sealed. Throughout the investigation, those closest to her were intensely scrutinized, and it has been reported that her husband underwent and passed a polygraph test.
To this day, the alleged kidnapping case of Sherri Papini remains unsolved and (to the public at least), a complete mystery; investigators have yet to make any arrests in the case or divulge a possible motive, they have also reportedly instructed the Papini family to cease making detailed statements to the media that could compromise the investigation.
[Featured Image by Suzanne and Keith Papini/GoFundMe]