For a couple from California, everything seemed to be going perfectly in their lives. Well, obviously being blessed with two adorable children and a well-settled life in a friendly locality is something that every American-family has on their bucket list. But, as we all know that life is full of twists and turns prediction of which is impossible for us. Something similar happened with this couple when they suddenly witnessed their happy family breaking into pieces. The events which followed next are sure to send chills down your spine with a mind-bending conclusion. Read on to find out…
A Proud Mother
No wonder Sherri Papini was an epitome of the all-American girl. Well, if you are blessed with stunning looks and manage to be the same way at the age of 34 people around you are surely going to get amazed and surprised. A major reason for this was the perfect married life she was enjoying. She was married to Keith Papini who was extremely dedicated and loving with the couple having two adorable children, a son named Tyler who was 4-year-old and a 2-year-old daughter named Violet. Sherri was a housewife who enjoyed spending her day with the kids. A “Super Mom” for her family, Sherri was unaware that the future had planned to wind her up in something unbelievable!
The Perfect American Family
Knowing the way in which the lives of this family of four turned upside down, it becomes imperative to make you acquainted with their background. So, this family resided in Redding, California. The parents were very happy with the neighborhood as it was known to be a safe and peaceful place to raise small children. Whereas Sherri used to take care of the household chores, her husband Keith worked as an audio-video specialist. Sherri used to be with the kids all the time except for two days in the week when the children went to daycare. This truly shows that the family was closely-knitted and one bound with divine virtues. Now, after knowing these facts you will surely be left perplexed once you get a hold of the strange incident which occurred.
Not The First One
You would be surprised to know that Keith Papini was Sherri’s second husband. As, before him, she was married to David Dreyfus. She had no children with him. After divorcing David in the year 2007, Sherri started dating Keith after spending a peaceful and lonely spell for some months following the divorce. David had everything nice to say about Sherri when asked by the people after their divorce. This proves that the two did not share any animosity and the reason for their split was not something extremely bitter and shows that Sherri was someone who took each and every decision wisely coming up with the best conclusion in the worst of situations.
On For A Jog
It was on November 2, 2016, that things started to take a dark turn for the Papini family. Actually, Sherri had a habit of going out for a jog when her children used to be at the daycare. So, her close friends and the people in the locality had become acquainted with the sight of a jogging Sherri. So, when on this particular day, the people at the daycare did not see Sherri coming to pick her children up they realized that something was fishy, as, it had never happened before not even a single day. Eventually, it didn’t take them long to fathom the fact that Sherri had gone missing. But, how?
The Last Text
In order to comprehend and get a hold of the situation, Keith shared the conversation he had with Sherri earlier on that day. He said,“I received a text message from her at 10:37 a..m. that day asking me if I was coming for lunch. I usually don’t bring my personal phone to my job. So I didn’t respond to that message until 1:39 p.m. that day.” He was totally unaware of the magnitude of the mishap coming on his way that was going to completely dismantle his perfect life.
When Keith returned to his home that day from his work at 5 p.m., he was taken aback to see the terrifying sight of a deserted house. He instantly realized that something bad had happened. Obviously, the absence of one’s wife and children from the house can drive any man crazy. His fears seemed to come true when his attempts at trying to get in contact with his wife ended in vain and he came to know that his children were still in the daycare. This was it for him, as, he did not waste even a second before calling the police. So, now it was up to the police to find out what had exactly happened?
It was around 6 p.m. on the same day that Sherri was reported missing after the arrival of the police. The police started asking questions from the locals regarding any possible sightings. It was during this that someone claimed to see Sherry jogging along Sunrise Drive which was nearby their locality in Redding. In a desperate attempt, Keith tried to trace her wife’s phone by using an app on his cellphone. This idea proved to be helpful as they found her phone lying on the roadside. But, unfortunately, it was only the phone that could be seen with no sign of Sherri around. The police were also left pondering as to what had happened to her?
Start Of A Manhunt
As soon as the news of the disappearance of Sherri spread across the locality a major manhunt began carried by the police and every people from the locality. They especially looked in the area where Sherri was usually seen running. It was good to see people from Nor-Cal Alliance for the Missing, Shasta Support Service, and the Shasta Country Guardian Angels, volunteering for the cause. This helped immensely as some of the people belonging to these group were experts in dealing with cases like this. But, did they come in handy?
Looking for Sherri
It was a difficult time for Keith and his two kids as the search which had been going on for a few days was not able to find a trace of Sherri anywhere. The authorities were unable to gather any information about her except the few that they had received from her family, friends, neighbors, the community, which sadly was not enough to find her. Apart from the discovery of the cellphone from the side of Old Oregan Trail and Sunrise Drive, there were no other significant events that could act as a stepping stone to solve the case. The case seemed to be really twisted, as, despite around 100 people helping the police on a daily basis in the search there were no clues to be found.
Was It Keith?
Obviously, during the days following the disappearance of Sherri, the level of speculations about the incident from the people was soaring high. In an attempt to decode the real course of events that could have taken place some even started suspecting her husband Keith. Well, precisely he was a suspect for the first 9 days after the incident. Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told at that time, “We were going through investigating hundreds of tips, looking at cellphone data.” Eventually, Keith saw himself out of the radar of the police as they could not find anything which would prove his connection with the mishappening. Describing his state Keith said, “People would see me and start crying and give me hugs… total strangers.”
Did She Decide To Leave?
Seeing that there were no possible conclusions available from the efforts that they had made, the authorities were tempted to even speculate that Sherri had decided to leave the house on her own. In an interview by ABC News, Keith said,“Everybody who knows my wife knows that there’s no reason for her to leave… She was definitely taken against her will.” Sheriff Bosenko told that she was “considered at risk due to the suspicious circumstances” when asked to give his opinion on the whole situation. Sherri’s family had a clear-cut stand when it came to responding to the speculations of her leaving the family at her own will. Read on to find out…
Sisters In Defense
Sheila Koester, sister of Sherri who was seven months pregnant at the time of Sherri’s disappearance, said to the journalists,“She was out for a run. She wouldn’t leave her babies. She has a family that loves her. Please just bring her home.” Similar views came up from the side of Keith’s family too. As his 36-year-old older sister, Suzanne Papini went on to say “She’s here with them [her family] every day gardening and doing projects. There’s just no way she would just take off.” Though one cannot fully make a judgment on this, one thing was sure that these statements had forced the police to stay away from the idea of Sherri leaving the house with her own will. Luckily, in this perilous situation, something unexpected happened which made things a little easy to decipher for the police.
Ransom Money Offered
Now, more than a week had passed since anyone last saw Sherri. The Papini family were ready to do anything in order to get a clue which would help them find Sherri or even a glimpse of her. It was because of this that they decided to offer a sum of $50,000 to anyone who would provide them any sort of information regarding Sherri. In order to pay for the expenses that they incurred while they searched for her, the family started a GoFundMe account. You would be surprised to know that the site was able to raise an amount of $50,000 aiding in the investigation. But, were these measures capable of making Sherri meet with her children again?
Helping Out A Friend
Apart from the families and relatives, close friends of Sherri and Keith displayed true devotion towards finding her. A family friend, Angela Bond resorted to taking the help of social media in order to gain any insight on the whereabouts of her friend. She did this by putting up a post on it. Initially, the family had no plans of dragging the children into the whole incident which had now become a matter of media attention all over the nation. But, after realizing that spreading the word and bringing the children into the picture would help speed up the process of bringing Sherri back they decided to go ahead with it.
A miracle happened after 22 painful days for the Family since Sherri’s disappearance. Keith received a phone call from an unknown number on Thanksgiving Day. He received a call from the same number on his home line too. On being asked about the call Keith said,“It was my wife screaming in the background, yelling my name, and a CHP (California High Patrol) officer that seemed somewhat confused at the moment, like, ‘What is going on?’… [the officer] said, ‘I need you to be calm. I need you to be calm’… I already know it’s her. I can tell her voice.” What happened next was unbelievable?
Found Alive And Safe!
Alison Sutton, who rescued Sherri from the roadside on Interstate 5 North in California at 4:30 a.m. told the media, “I saw a woman frantically waving what looked like a shirt up and down, trying to flag somebody down. I was startled to see her. It was dark and she pretty much just came out of nowhere. If I had swerved to the right at least a little bit, I would have hit her with my car. She had, like, a wide-eyed, panicked kind of look. I figured if she was willing to risk being hit by a car trying to get somebody’s attention that she must really need some help.” Sutton said to the New York Daily News that Papini “didn’t look like she was hurt, but she did look scared.” Where had Sherri been for the past 22 days?
Reunited At The Hospital
After reuniting with his wife Keith recalled that he saw Sherri’s body covered with bruises. Some were new and some were old. She had gone through a tremendous weight loss, dropping from 100 pounds to 87, which means she lost 15% of her body weight. Obviously, this made her look emaciated. A blue-eyed gorgeous woman now had been chopped off to the shoulder. Apart from all this she also had a broken nose.
Sherri narrated her terrifying story in front of the authorities. She said that on 2nd November, 2 Hispanic women kidnapped her from the road that she usually jogged on. She added by describing that the women possessed guns and dragged her into a dark colored SUV. After her capture, she used to be beaten, starved with her long hair being cut. They also “branded” her. Well, the narrations of her and Keith were similar with the latter describing her wife’s state when he saw her at the hospital.
Captors Were Hispanic
In the interviews that followed, Sherri gave a more accurate description of the things that happened during her abduction. She disclosed that ‘she was taken by two Hispanic women at gunpoint’ at the time of her kidnapping. The women who made sure everytime to conceal their faces usually spoke in Spanish. She even described the two women by saying that the first one had long, curly hair and pierced ears. Apart from this she had a heavy Spanish accent and had thin eyebrows. According to her, the second woman was older than the first one and had straight black hair that was slightly graying and thick eyebrows.
An Emotional Keith
Keith was extremely happy to see his wife again. He said to the US media, “Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see upon my arrival at the hospital nor the details of the true hell I was about to hear.My first sight was my wife in a hospital bed. Her face covered in bruises ranging from yellow to black because of her repeated beatings. The bridge of her nose broken. She has been branded and I could feel the rise of her scabs under my fingers.”
What Did The Kidnappers Want?
The experts looking over the case pondered over the whole situation and thought about the explanation that Sherri had given on her disappearance. It felt to them that everything was like a jigsaw puzzle left to be arranged in a proper way. The absence of anyone coming forward for negotiation of Sherri’s release was surprising. Some even said that she had abducted as a part of “sex trafficking” considering her beautiful looks and body.
A Sex Trafficking Syndicate?
Bill Garcia was a private investigator who was hired by the Papini family during Sherri’s disappearance. He said to the People Magazine,“I literally got the chills. I know who it is, I know who did this.” he added, “Because of the injuries, the broken nose, apparently she had other burns, the discoloration.” Well, the only thing which did not go in accordance with this theory was her age which was way more than the normally kidnapped girls.
There were some more interesting facts that the police had found. Firstly, it just took Sherri a few hours to come out of the hospital after the torture she had faced as described by her.Taking a look at her past made people think that the incident took place because of a hate crime. As, during her youth, Sherri had indulged in a fight with Latinos in Shasta Lake which was her hometown. The reason being a blog she wrote which stated,“drug-free, white, and proud of my blood and heritage.”
Attention Seeking Behavior?
Some even said that she had made up the whole incident. A particular social media user on a Reddit MarkMyWords account event posted “Mark my words: Sherri Papini is lying about her abduction just like she did in 2006.” Her friends have even come forward saying that she was someone who loved to be the center of attention and could resort to anything in order to be one.
An Eerie Coincidence?
Interestingly, Sherri had a classmate named Tera Lynn Smith in her High School. Exactly 18 years before Tera was also abducted from the exact same spot from where Sherri was kidnapped. Well, you will be shocked to see the similarities in the facial features of both the women after looking at this picture. Unfortunately, Tera did not share the same fate as Sherri, as, she is missing till date.
Intention Of Defamation?
Keith has taken a strong stand for his wife saying that people want to ruin her reputation by making false accusations, though, he is unaware of the reason for it. Keith told in an interview, “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.”
Police Don’t Doubt Her
It is the sheer mystery and strange facts with which the case is shrouded that has made it popular in the media and among the people. There are still many aspects related to the case that needs to be fully comprehended. Currently, the authorities believe that Sherri has been totally honest in her description of the whole event and say that they are aware of the type of “branding” done to her.
First Sighting Since Supposed Abduction
Sherri has managed to maintain a low profile after her release. She spends her time staying in her house with her family and close friends. She was seen for the first time out of her house wearing a hat and a hoodie, in order to hide from the media and other paparazzi. The Papini family have been unable to find the much-needed respite because of the media attention.
Chose To Stay Quiet
A local media reporter described her encounter with the couple by saying,”Sherri did not say anything the entire time, she clung tight on to her husband and when it came to ordering food, she didn’t even look at anybody,’ added the source. ‘Just kind of didn’t make eye contact with anybody.’
As already told before Sherri went on to say that she was kidnapped by two Hispanic women and the injuries on her body were the result of the torture she faced while in their custody. But, police has revealed after 11 months of the event taking place that they have found both male and female DNA from Sherri’s clothes. Well, this twists up the case even more and raises questions about the validity of Sherri’s statements.
Texted A Male
Speaking on behalf of the police department, Sergeant Brian Jackson said to the reporters that Sherri was in conversation with a man from Michigan prior to her disappearance. They had discussed their plans for meeting each other in California. So was this the clue the police were searching for?
After making this discovery the police didn’t wait for a second in going to Michigan and interview the man in question. Well, after the interview the police told the media that they did not find anything suspicious about the man and denied his links with the whole incident.
The police even found many inconsistencies in the statement issued by Sherri. One among them was the absence of an injury in her right foot. She had earlier said that during a fight with one of the abductors, she had cut her right foot. But, the police found no scar or injury mark there. Well, this just adds to the mysteriousness to the case which is still being tried to completely solved.
The best thing was to see the zeal on the faces of those living in the locality to see Sherri again. They gave her a warm welcome and even dressed up in pink, which was her favorite color. Brady Frost, a Redding health club owner told, “This community is getting together to just wish this family well and welcome Sherri back.”
Still A Happy Ending!
Keith after the whole event said, “Thank you to the extremely generous, anonymous as well as named donors all over the world [who] selflessly gave to our family. Thank you to the many incredible humans that have never known Sherri that facilitated in sharing our heartbreak across the globe. Sherri has always captured my heart, and it is no surprise that she has captured the hearts not only through the country but throughout the world. Thank you, truly, immensely, sincerely and with my entire heart.”