California mom Sherri Papini mysteriously disappeared during a jog in early November, and more than three weeks later, she was found on the side of a highway chained and beaten. Watch the video above to find out everything we know so far about the chilling abduction, and learn more about her ordeal below.
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On November 2, Papini set out for a jog near her Redding, California, home. Sherri’s husband, Keith Papini, became worried and started searching for her after she failed to pick up their two kids from daycare that day. Keith used the Find My iPhone app to locate her phone and headphones about a mile away, but Sherri had vanished. He called the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department, who launched an extensive investigation into the 34-year-old’s disappearance.
After 22 days, Sherri was found just before dawn on Thursday, November 24, Thanksgiving Day, along a highway near Sacramento, 150 miles away from where she was jogging. Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said the mom of two walked to a nearby church after her captors threw her from a vehicle. No one was at the church, so Sherri then walked to I-5, where she flagged down a passing motorist. Bosenko said she was “very emotional” when found and was treated and released from a hospital with her husband “at her side.”
Shasta County Sheriff’s Office
Keith issued a statement to Good Morning America on Tuesday, November 29, describing the gruesome details of his wife’s condition. “My first sight was my wife in a hospital bed, her face covered in bruises ranging from yellow to black because of repeated beatings, the bridge of her nose broken. Her now emaciated body of 87 pounds was covered in multicolored bruises, severe burns, red rashes and chain markings. Her signature long blonde hair had been chopped off. She has been branded,” he wrote. “Sherri was taken from us for 22 days and suffered incredibly through both intense physical agony and severe mental torture.”
He also slammed people who questioned whether her disappearance was a hoax. “We are not going to allow those people to take away our spirit, love or rejoice in our girl found alive and home where she belongs,” he continued. “I understand people want the story, pictures, proof that this was not some sort of hoax, plan to gain money or some fabricated race war. I do not see a purpose in addressing each preposterous lie.”
Bosenko later confirmed Keith’s account in an interview with Good Morning America. “I was familiar with those details. We had not released them yet to the public,” the sheriff said. He also said that a “message” was branded on Sherri’s skin by a “very sick person” and reiterated that there was “no reason to disbelieve” Sherri’s account amid the hoax rumors.
Authorities say they are looking for two armed Hispanic women driving a dark-colored SUV, but many things are still unclear in the case, including the motive and why her captors let her go. No ransom was sought for Sherri’s return.
During the GMA interview, Bosenko acknowledged a post about Latinos on the now-defunct website Skinheadz.com, which was reportedly signed with Sherri’s maiden name, Sherri Graeff. According to the Sacramento Bee, the post recalled a woman growing up in Shasta Lake who got into altercations with Latinos who targeted her because she was “drug-free, white and proud of my blood and heritage.”
“We are familiar with that posting,” Bosenko told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “That is about 13 years old, and our investigators are looking into that as well.”
However, Sherri’s ex-husband, David Dreyfus, her sister, Sheila Koester, and husband Keith have all denied she wrote the post in question. “[The Papinis] are very private people and they do not post things on the internet,” Koester told the paper.