California mother Sherri Papini, who claimed she was kidnapped in 2016 before suddenly reappearing three weeks later, almost 200 miles away from where she was last seen, has been slammed by the police officer in charge of her investigation for wasting police time.
Papini, 39, was finally arrested on Thursday. Prosecutors allege she had made up the entire kidnapping story and allege she had in fact been staying with an ex-boyfriend during the period she was believed to be missing.
She has been charged with lying to federal investigators and fraudulently obtaining $30,000 from the state’s victim compensation board.
Prosecutors charged Sherri Papini, 39, (pictured) for lying to federal agents about being kidnapped and defrauding the state’s victim compensation board of $30,000
Sheriff Michael L. Johnson of the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office has criticized her for wasting more than half a decade of police time and resources
Sherri Papini with her husband Keith. Her ex-boyfriend told police she convinced him that Keith was abusing her and that she wanted help to get away from him so convinced the ex-boyfriend to pick her up
Shasta County Sheriff Michael L. Johnson says Papini’s claims were ‘bogus’ and is furious that the mother-of-two essentially wasted six years of police time.
‘Shasta County is a pretty tight-knit community and a safe community, so when Sherry reported this abduction, or should I say charade, it really caused a lot of anxiety,’ Sheriff Johnson said to The Sun.
‘People were afraid to go out for jogs or to be out in public alone. They thought we had abductors and sex traffickers lurking around here at a profound rate.
‘It’s okay to be questioned and second-guessed at times if the case is legitimate, but when we come to find out it was all a charade it’s really frustrating for us,’ Johnson said.
‘I’ve got to tell you, from the point of when she is now having been charged, we’re really happy that a person who wasted so much money and resources, and who through her selfish acts created so much hysteria in our community, is now being held accountable for what she’s done.’
Johnson continued: ‘I have zero sympathy for Sherri Papini. I do, however, have compassion for her husband, the kids and her other family members that were duped and unknowingly victimized by what she was doing.
‘So as far as the family goes, I can certainly appreciate it and my heart goes out to them, but as far as Sherry Papini goes, I have I have no sympathy for her,’ the Sheriff went on.
‘She made her own bed. She created this whole situation, and now she has to answer for it.’
The longer the case went on, the more scrutiny the police department came under as to how they were handling the case.
On the day Papini went missing, her husband Keith said he had first become concerned about her whereabouts when she stopped answering her phone
A’missing’ sign for Sherri Papini, is seen near the location where the mom of two is believed to have gone missing while on an afternoon jog. Papini, whose disappearance and mysterious reappearance set off a frantic three-week search more than five years earlier, was arrested Thursday, on charges of lying to federal agents about being kidnapped and defrauding the state’s victim compensation board of $30,000
Johnson even told The Sun that his officers long suspected the story might be fabricated but still had to continue to follow every lead in order that the department be seen to carrying out due diligence in order to ‘get their facts straight.’
Johnson’s view was corroborated by Attorney for the Eastern District of California Phillip A. Talbert who said the story was fabricated to a bizarre level which even saw Pipini deliberately hurting herself in an attempt to give credence to her claims.
‘When a young mother went missing in broad daylight, a community was filled with fear and concern,’ Talbert said in a statement on Thursday.
‘Shasta County Sheriff’s Office immediately began investigating, calling on the assistance of the FBI. Countless hours were spent following leads, all in an effort to bring this woman back to her family.
‘Three weeks later, she was found 146 miles south of where she disappeared, and the focus went from trying to find her to trying to find her abductors.
‘Ultimately, the investigation revealed that there was no kidnapping and that time and resources that could have been used to investigate actual crime, protect the community, and provide resources to victims were wasted based on the defendant’s conduct.’
The mom-of-two told cops she spent two weeks in captivity, beaten and starved by Hispanic women. Pictured, Papini and husband Keith are seen for Halloween with their two kids
Papini’s family have released a statement criticizing the way in which she was arrested by police in front of her kids.
‘We love Sherri and are appalled by the way in which law enforcement ambushed her this afternoon in a dramatic and unnecessary manner in front of her children. If requested, Sherri would have fully complied and come to the police station, as she has done multiple times before, where this could have been handled in a more appropriate way.’
Papini’s husband Keith reported her missing on November 2, 2016, after returning home to find her gone and their kids still at daycare, where their mother would have collected them.
On the day she went missing, Keith said he had first become concerned about her whereabouts when she stopped answering her phone.
For weeks, America watched in angst as police tried to find her. She appeared on Thanksgiving Day, some two weeks later, miraculously showing up on the side of the road where she claimed she’d been dropped off by her Hispanic kidnappers.
She reappeared after her ‘kidnap’ weeks later and went home to her husband. Pictured, Sherri Papini and her husband Keith on their wedding day in August 2012
Sherri then spun a tale of violence at the hands of her two female captors who she claimed beat her, fed her ‘tortillas’, forced her to use kitty litter and who she said played ‘that annoying Mexican music’ all the time.
Safe at home in Redding, California, she retreated from public view to recuperate and recover from the seemingly traumatic ordeal.
But it has now been claimed by federal prosecutors that Papini staged the disappearance and was in fact with an unnamed ex-boyfriend for the duration of the search for her.
She spent the 22 days hidden away in his apartment in Costa Mesa, a seven-hour drive south of where she lived, starving herself and inflicting injuries on herself before convincing him to drive her home because she missed her kids.
The ex-boyfriend says he only became aware of what she had involved him in after he returned her home and saw news stories.
Shasta County Sheriff Michael L. Johnson says Papini’s claims were ‘bogus’ and is furious that the mother-of-two essentially wasted six years of police time as they followed up every lead
He said they used to date in 2006 and that he assumed their relationship would be romantic when she made contact again in 2016, but that they never slept together while she was in his home.
For the next two weeks, they lived in his apartment in Costa Mesa. There was no TV, so he did not see the news reports about her disappearance, but he became suspicious when she started injuring herself.
She spent most of her days locked away in his bedroom after claiming it while he was forced to sleep on the couch, the man said.
She cut her hair, burned herself, and asked him to shoot her with a pellet gun to inflict a small bruise on her leg.
Papini – who he said was ‘already tiny’ – starved herself while she was living with him, eating only ‘small portions’.
Sherri Papini (shown with her husband Keith and children Tyler and Violet before her abduction). The family have criticized police for arresting her away in front of her kids
In the days before Thanksgiving, she told him she was ready to go home to her kids. Before they left, she convinced him to burn a ‘phrase’ into her skin with a heated tool.
He then drove her seven hours north, back to Shasta County, and dropped her off on the side of the road. She hid in the backseat again for that journey.
She brought with her a bag that contained hand ties which she wrapped around herself in the car to make it look as if she had been bound.
After he dropped her off, the ex-boyfriend drove himself back to San Pedro, had Thanksgiving Dinner at his aunt’s house and then returned his rental car the next day.
It was only when he saw the intense media coverage of Papini returning home that he started to panic, he said.
He said he never came forward because he thought that police would approach him if he had done something wrong, so he stayed quiet.
In August 2020, police confronted Papini with the evidence but she continued to deny it and say there is ‘no way’ it could have been the ex-boyfriend.
Keith Papini, left, has not been arrested; it remains unclear if he is under investigation. Pictured, Keith and Sherri Papini
The area where Sherri Papini was found near the I-5 freeway outside of Yolo, California
She admitted speaking with him over text, as she did with other men, but said it was merely a mistake and nothing criminal.
‘When I went out of town for work. I talked with other guys ……… I made a mistake and I talked to other men and I shouldn’t have,’ she said.
In the five years since she allegedly faked the disappearance, Papini claimed $30,000 from the Victim Compensation Board.
Papini now faces a mail fraud charge related to the reimbursement requests that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, while lying to a federal officer has a maximum five-year sentence.
‘Everyone involved in this investigation had one common goal: to find the truth about what happened on Nov. 2, 2016, with Sherri Papini and who was responsible,’ said Shasta County Sheriff Michael Johnson.
That 22-day search and five-year investigation not only cost money and time, he said, ‘but caused the general public to be fearful of their own safety, a fear that they should not have had to endure.’
In the five years since she allegedly faked the disappearance, Papini claimed $30,000 from the Victim Compensation Board. Pictured, Keith and Sherri Papini with their kids, Tyler and Violet
Sherri Papini slammed by cop for stoking fear in town with ‘kidnapping charade’ Source link Sherri Papini slammed by cop for stoking fear in town with ‘kidnapping charade’