Sherri Papini, the Mother Who Claims She Was Kidnapped and Tortured, Arrested Following Years-Long Investigation

Whether you recognize the face or the name, Sherri Papini has become a controversial household name. Papini, as Mamas Uncut previously reported, was the 34-year-old mom from California who went on a jog and didn’t return for 22 days.

As the story goes, on November 2, 2016, Papini left her California home to go on a run. During that run, Papini mysteriously vanished and she was reported missing by her husband after she failed to pick up their kids from daycare like she normally did.

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For 22 days, the search for Sherri Papini continued. Then on Thanksgiving Day 2016, Papini made her way to the side of Interstate 5 and flagged down a driver passing by nearly 150 miles from where she disappeared. 

Papini was weak and battered with a swollen nose. Her hair had been chopped off and she claims that the people who allegedly abducted her branded her shoulder. 

Papini said she didn’t believe she knew her alleged captures but admits she never got a good look at them to know for sure. Papini told investigators that the people who reportedly took her at gunpoint always wore something over their faces and they had often placed a bag over her head. However, Papini claimed that both of her alleged captures were women and they both spoke Spanish.

Papini used what knowledge she did have of her captures to help the FBI create composite sketches of the women who allegedly kidnapped her.

RELATED: Sherri Papini Still Hopeful for Justice As New Tipster Claims She Was Him the Entire 22 Days She Was Missing

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Sherri Papini, the Mother Who Claims She Was Kidnapped and Tortured, Arrested Following Years-Long Investigation After DNA Debunked Her Claims

Other than that, much of Papini’s case had remained a mystery, that is until now. On March 3, Sherri Papini was arrested.

According to CBS News, the mom has been charged with lying to federal agents about being kidnapped and defrauding the state’s victim compensation board of $30,000. Now 39 years old, investigators believe Papini’s story was an elaborate rouse to cover up her infidelity.

As CBS News reports, investigators believe Papini was really with her boyfriend in Orange Country, California, which is 600 miles from where she lived with her husband and children. Investigators believe she harmed herself in order to back up her claims of being kidnapped. 

“When a young mother went missing in broad daylight, a community was filled with fear and concern,” U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert said in a statement. “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.”

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According to CBS News, Papini was last interviewed by federal agents in August 2020. During that interview, Papini was shown evidence that debunked her story and was told it was a crime to lie to a federal agent. They say despite all of that she maintained her claims of being kidnapped. 

It remains unclear what that evidence is. However, CBS reports that the male DNA found on her tattered clothes led them to an ex-boyfriend in 2020. A cousin of the boyfriend’s said he saw Papini twice at the boyfriend’s apartment and never saw her tied up.

The boyfriend reportedly told investigators that Papini asked him to pick her up from Redding and she stayed at his house during the time people were searching for her. He claims they never had sex during that time.

Investigators confirmed the boyfriend’s statements after tracking down the prepaid cellphones he and Papini were using to keep in touch. The boyfriend had also rented a car in order to pick Papini up.

sherri papini, the mother who claims she was kidnapped and tortured, arrested following years-long investigation
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RELATED: It’s Been 3 Years Since Sherri Papini Returned Home After Allegedly Being Kidnapped While Running. This Is What Her Life Looked Like in 2017, One Year After

Sherri Papini has also been charged with mail fraud and now faces up to more than 25 years in prison should she be convicted. 

It doesn’t seem that Papini’s husband, Keith Papini, is still under investigation. As CBS News reports, Keith passed a lie detector test. It’s unclear if Sherri ever took a lie detector test or if she was ever given the option.

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