Driver recalls seeing Papini on side of the road, calling 911
REDDING, Calif. - A driver called 911 after she saw a woman on the side of the road in Yolo County, on Thanksgiving. The woman she saw was Sherri Papini.
After missing for three weeks Sherri was found on Thursday, Nov. 24. The Shasta County Sheriff's Office was notified that Sherri had been released from her captor, or captors, off of I-5 in Yolo County. Sherri was bound with restraints but was still able to summon help from a passing motorist near the County Road 17 off-ramp.
Alison Sutton and her daughter were on he way to Crescent City when they saw Papini. At the time she had no idea it was her.
She noted as they passed by Papini, she turned to her daughter and said "Oh my gosh, I could of hit her". Sutton added, "She was just really, really close to the side of the road."
They decided to pull over and call 911.
"I saw a blonde woman, frantically waving, what looked to be a shirt, up and down trying to get somebody's attention," Sutton explained.
While Sutton does not remember what Papini was wearing she can recall her face.
"I have a memory of a flash, of a face, with a panic look on it," Sutton said."I remember thinking she must be cold because it didn't look like she had clothes on that were warm enough."
Later on during the day Sutton received a phone call from investigators, that's when she learned the woman she saw was Papini.
"I was shocked and I felt bad," she noted.
As she learned more about Papini's story Sutton's guilt continued. "It was kind of nagging at me, I was feeling like I should of done more and after I found out she is a kidnap victim and has been in captivity for three weeks then I really felt bad," Sutton stated.
Although she feel bad for not doing more, Sutton feels she did what she could and is happy Papini is reunited with her family.
"I think it's a miraculous thing and I think it will make thanksgiving an all that much more special holiday for them from now on, that it happened on thanksgiving," she said. "It gives more meaning for Thanksgiving for me, knowing about her and the fact that she got rescued on Thanksgiving."
She added one of Papini's family members did reach out to her thanking her for what she did.
Law enforcement said this is still an active investigation and they will keep searching for Sherri's captor or captors.
Law enforcement is currently looking for two Hispanic women driving a dark colored SUV. They are armed with a handgun.
Anyone with information can call 530-245-6540 or the Major Crimes Unit 530-245-6135. Tips can also be submitted at firstname.lastname@example.org.