California woman is accused of faking her own kidnapping in 2016

She said her captors tied her to a post inside a closet, with a bucket of kitty litter serving as her toilet. Then came the beatings. ...


She said her captors tied her to a post inside a closet, with a bucket of kitty litter serving as her toilet. Then came the beatings. And when she tried to escape, she told investigators she was branded.

This is how Sherri Papini told investigators what happened when she disappeared in 2016, a three-week ordeal that prompted an intense and costly search in northern California, where she lived, and in several other states.

The widely reported missing person case ended after a lorry driver spotted Ms Papini wandering along a motorway, but the investigation was not over.

Federal prosecutors said this week that Ms Papini’s claims that two masked women abducted her at gunpoint while she was on the run in Redding, Calif., were fabricated and that she had continued her deception when investigators confronted her.

In fact, according to prosecutors, Ms. Papini, a married mother of two, was staying with an ex-boyfriend and used prepaid cell phones to get him to take her about 600 miles to his home in Southern California.

His bruises and burns were self-inflicted, prosecutors said, who announcement that Ms Papini, 39, was arrested on Thursday on felony charges, including making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer and mail fraud. The fraud charges stem from more than $30,000 in therapy and ambulance services that prosecutors said were paid for by the California Victim Compensation Board.

Shasta County Sheriff Michael L. Johnson said in a statement Thursday that Ms. Papini cost taxpayers more than $150,000 in resources used to investigate her claims and staged kidnapping.

“Not only has this charade robbed valuable resources of real criminal investigations,” he added. writes on facebook“but at a time when there are serious cases of human trafficking with legitimate victims, Sherri Papini has used this tragic societal phenomenon to gain notoriety and financial gain.”

Prosecutors said Ms Papini claimed her captors were part of a human trafficking ring and told her she would be sold. “The buyer is a cop. They will never find you,” she claimed, one of her captors told her, according to the criminal complaint.

In a statement released Thursday by a public relations firm, the Papini family criticized the nature of the federal investigation and the tactics used by investigators to question Ms. Papini and her husband, Keith. The statement did not say whether Ms Papini had faked her kidnapping.

“We love Sherri and are appalled at the manner in which law enforcement ambushed her this afternoon in a dramatic and needless manner in front of her children,” the family statement read. “Sherri and Keith have cooperated with requests from law enforcement despite repeated attempts to unnecessarily pit them against each other, empty threats to publicly embarrass them, and other less than professional behavior.”

The statement added that the family was “confused” by several aspects of the charges and was seeking clarification.

Prosecutors said Ms Papini’s ex-boyfriend, who has not been identified, admitted to taking part in the fake kidnapping. DNA found on Ms Papini’s clothing led investigators to him, according to the criminal complaint. It matched DNA from one of the ex-boyfriend’s parents, which had been collected for ancestry research.

Investigators said the ex-boyfriend told them Ms Papini asked him to mark her with a craft tool.

“When a young mother disappeared in broad daylight, a community was filled with fear and concern,” Phillip A. Talbert, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, said in the statement announcing Ms. Papini. “Countless hours have been spent following up leads, all with the goal of bringing this woman back to her family.”

Prosecutors declined to comment further on the charges against Ms Papini, who appeared in court on Friday. She was taken into custody for danger and flight risk and her next court appearance will be on Tuesday. His lawyer, Michael Borges, was not immediately available Friday evening.

Ms. Papini faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted of making false statements to a federal investigator. The second charge of mail fraud carries a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Ms Papini went jogging on November 2, 2016, according to the complaint. Her husband had come home from work that day to find that his wife was missing and their children had not been picked up from daycare. Using the Find My iPhone app, Mr Papini located his wife’s phone and headphones, with strands of hair attached, about a mile from their home.

Mr Papini has issued a public appeal for the safe return of his wife. “Bring her home,” repeated Mr. Papini said in an interview with KRCR-TV, a local television station in Redding. “I’m coming, honey. I try. I do everything I can and I love you. A $50,000 reward was also offered.

Ms Papini mysteriously arrived three weeks later, on November 24, in Yolo County, more than 220 kilometers south of where she disappeared, the US attorney’s office said. She was bound to her body and had injuries, including a mark on her right shoulder. Ms Papini told authorities she was abducted by two Hispanic women and provided descriptions to an FBI cartoonist.

In August 2020, authorities questioned Ms Papini again about her claim that she had been abducted, prosecutors said. She was presented with evidence showing she had not been kidnapped and was warned that it was illegal to lie to federal agents. Instead of recanting, Ms Papini continued to make false statements, authorities said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: California woman is accused of faking her own kidnapping in 2016
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