REDDING, Calif. — Three years ago in November of 2016, a Redding woman disappeared while jogging and reappeared on Thanksgiving Day with a strange story. Three years later, information about where she had been held and who is responsible has been limited.
Sherri Papini, the Redding mom who went missing, disappeared on November 2, 2016, while jogging near her home.
22 days later on Thanksgiving morning, Papini reappeared on the side of Interstate 5 in rural Yolo County approximately 150 miles south of her home in Redding, bound at her waist by a chain.
Papini was reported missing by her husband Keith after she didn't pick up her children from daycare. Papini's phone and earbuds were located one-mile from her home at the intersection of Old Oregon Trail and Sunrise Drive.
When Papini was found in Yolo County, the Shasta County Sheriff's Office said not only was she bound at the waist by a chain which was tethered to her left wrist with a zip tie, but she also had hose clamps fixed to her ankles which authorities have described as "pain compliance restraints".
Keith told KRCR in an interview in 2016 that his wife had a bag over her head most of her time in captivity. He also told KRCR when he was reunited with Papini in the hospital, she was covered in bruises ranging from yellow to black because of repeated beatings.
In addition to the bruising, Papini's hair had reportedly been cut to shoulder length and she had a brand on her right shoulder.
Papini told the Shasta County Sheriff's Office she was abducted at gunpoint and held captive by two armed Hispanic females who spoke Spanish the majority of the time.
Following Papini's reappearance, the FBI released sketches of two women described by Sherri Papini as her alleged abductors.
Papini described one of her abductors as being in her 20s or 30s and another being between 40 and 50.
The younger woman in the sketch was described by Papini as being 5 feet 5 inches, with a medium build with coarse, curly dark hair, thin eyebrows and pierced ears. The second suspect was described by Papini as being approximately 5 feet 7 inches, and has straight black hair with some gray in it and thick eyebrows.
Papini also described the suspects’ vehicle as a dark-colored SUV with a large rear side window.
An examination by the California Department of Justice of evidence collected from Sherri was completed and an unknown female profile and an unknown male profile was compiled from various pieces of collected evidence from Sherri Papini. The unknown female DNA was collected from a swab taken from Sherri's body. The unknown male DNA profile was compiled from the clothing Sherri was found wearing.
Both unknown profiles have been uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System. CODIS is the national database that compares DNA profiles electronically with known offender profiles stored in the database. Keith Papini has been excluded as the contributor of the unknown male DNA profile.
For the last three years, authorities say they have no reason not to believe Papini but details of her case have caused many people to question whether she was held against her will.
During the investigation, the Shasta County Sheriff's Office said they discovered Papini was texting with a man acquaintance from Michigan. Days prior to her disappearance, Papini and the man acquaintance texted each other in an attempt to meet while he was in California. However, when detectives interviewed him in Michigan, they determined he was not involved in Papini's disappearance.
Although Papini’s case has been out of the spotlight for a couple of years, the case is not cold.
The FBI and the Shasta County Sheriff's Office are still investigating the case.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading directly to the identification of the two individuals depicted in the sketches.
To submit a tip, contact the Sacramento Office of the FBI at (916) 746-7000.
You can also file a tip online here.