Almost a year ago, 34-year-old Sherri Papini was found bruised, beaten, branded, and partially shackled by the side of a highway in Northern California after she had gone missing three weeks earlier while out jogging in her neighborhood near Redding. Now, for the first time in six months, investigators are going public with more details that they've learned, as well as sketches of Papini's alleged abductors, perhaps with the hope of generating more leads because so far, they don't seem to have much.
The case of Papini's disappearance captured the country's attention last November in part because the pretty, blonde, married mother of two appeared to have been snatched, Gone Girl style, in what was otherwise a quiet, suburban neighborhood. The fact that she reappeared, injured and emaciated but alive, 22 days later only made the story more juicy, and the media and the public went about trying to pick it apart and decide if it was some kind of hoax. The Sacramento Bee appeared to be blaming the victim back in March when they released details about Papini's troubled teen years and brushes with the law from years before she was married.
But now, as CBS 5 reports, the investigation is ongoing and the FBI has released the sketches above of the two female captors Papini has described, both of whom primarily spoke Spanish, she said. Also, the Chronicle reports that two individuals' DNA was found on Papini's clothing, that of a man and a woman, and the man was not Papini's husband. Neither was a match in the FBI's national database.
The women allegedly grabbed Papini while she was jogging on November 2, 2016 in a dark-colored SUV. One woman Papini describes as younger with dark curly hair, pierced ears, and thin eyebrows, and the other she describes as older, with straight, graying black hair and thick eyebrows.
Investigators revealed that they had pursued a lead involving a man from Michigan, an acquaintance of Papini's whom she had apparently arranged to meet in the days before her kidnapping, because he was coming to California on business. As the Redding Record-Searchlight reports, via Shasta County Sherrif's Sgt. Brian Jackson, "investigators later determined he wasn't involved in her disappearance."
CBS 5 reports that "more than 20 search warrants were executed in the effort to determine Sherri’s whereabouts," and both Papini and her husband Keith passed polygraph exams. They also sorted through over 600 tips, which have led nowhere.
Also, in terms of other cases of abductions or human trafficking, Sgt. Jackson says that this one seems to stand apart as unusual. "There have been no cases discovered that are similar in nature to this investigation concerning the pattern of operations by the suspect(s), treatment of the captured victim and release of the captured victim," Jackson said in a statement.
Via the Record-Searchlight, there's just one more slightly sketchy detail:
Jackson also shed more light on the condition Papini was in when she was found on the side of the road in Yolo County, and what happened while she was gone including a fight Papini said she had with one of the captors.
Papini told a forensic interviewer that she slammed her younger captor's head into a toilet when she was allowed to leave her captivity room for a shower, Jackson said. He said Papini told the interviewer that she got a cut on the side of her right foot in the fight, but "when she was being processed at the hospital ... no evidence of a cut was seen in the photographs."
Papini, now 35, continues to assist with the case but apparently her recollections of her time in captivity are slim.
Keith Papini issued a statement to the Record-Searchlight Wednesday, saying, "We want to express our immense gratitude to all of the many people who have publicly and privately supported us over the last year. Your well-wishes have helped beyond measure. We are hopeful that the release of additional information by law enforcement will expedite the capture of Sherri’s abductors. This has been an extraordinarily difficult time for our entire family. We ask that the media please respect our need for privacy as Sherri continues to heal and we work towards putting our lives back together."
There remains a $10,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the suspects in the case, and anyone with information about the location where Sherri was held, the suspect vehicle and/or identities of the two suspects are urged to contact the FBI at 916-746-7000 (select option 1), or go online at tips.fbi.gov.