Sheriff's office reveals new information in Papini case
REDDING, Calif. - Calling Sherri Papini cooparative and courageous, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko released new information Wednesday about what they have learned from her about her captors and her disappearance.
"We still do not have a motive, as to the reason why Ms. Papini was taken," said Sheriff Bosenko. "We do not know if she was a specific target or if this was a random abduction."
More information was released about the two suspects involved in the case. Sheriff Bosenko indicated the two Hispanic women spoke mostly in Spanish during Sherri's time in captivity, and that they usually kept their faces covered. He did say the younger suspect had long, curly hair and a thick accent. She also had pierced ears and thin eyebrows. The older of the two was described as having straight black, but graying hair, and that she had thick eyebrows.
Sheriff Bosenko also said they do not have specific information about where Sherri may have been taken after her abduction. They also do not have specific information if the case was related to a cartel or human trafficking.
He also pleaded for understanding and patience from the community.
"Remember that she was held against her will, and was isolated," said Sheriff Bosenko. "We will not disclose everything about the case, or what Sherri provided us for the integrity of the investigation, as it is active and ongoing."
He commended Sherri for her willingness to recount the series of events as best she could, describing her as cooperative and courageous. He also thanked the community for being active in helping submit tips to help them find her. He said they still need to find the suspects and the SUV that was described. Bosenko indicated Sherri has looked at the surveillance video from the area where she was found but has not been able to identify the SUV.
Sheriff Bosenko encouraged people to still contact the Shasta County Sheriff's tip line at 530-245-6135 or Secret Witness at 530-243-2319.
Tuesday, Keith Papini released a statement with specific details about the physical state his wife was in when he saw her 22 days after she had been abducted. "Her now emaciated body of 87 pounds was covered in multi-colored bruises, severe burns, red rashes, and chain markings," said Keith. "Her signature long hair had been chopped off. She was branded and I could feel the rise of her scabs under my fingers."
Keith went on to explain that Sherri was thrown from a vehicle with a chain around her waist that was attached to her wrists and she had a bag over her head. Keith added that same bag was what Sherri used to flag someone down once she was able to free one of her hands.
In an interview with Sheriff Bosenko Tuesday, he said he was "blindsided" by Keith's statement due to the key pieces of information in the case that he released.
Lieutenant Anthony Bertain, the head of the Investigations Division at the Shasta County Sheriff's Office, said he understood the need for Keith to set the story straight from rampant social media claims but that investigators were "surprised" by Keith's statement. Bertain added they were disappointed Keith went into so much detail by releasing key pieces of information, like how Sherri was branded.
"There's some unique information in there that was in his press release today that we were hoping to keep a tight rein on as far as what we were going to release to the public," Bertain said. "It's not the first hurdle in this investigation that we've had, we've overcome many of them, not just in this case, but there's surprises in all investigations, so this is just... wasn't good timing."
Sherri Papini was reported missing on November 2 after she was last seen running in the area of Sunrise Drive and Sundust Road near Old Oregon Trail around 2:00 p.m. Papini was found safe around 4:30 a.m. Thanksgiving near the County Road 17 off-ramp of I-5 in Yolo County.
Officials said the Yolo County Sheriff's Office, CHP, and medical personnel responded to assist. Sherri was freed from her restraints and transported to an area hospital for treatment of her injuries.
Officials said Keith Papini immediately responded to the hospital where Sherri was being treated and remained by her side.