The disappearance of Sherri Papini rocked her community in 2016, setting off a massive search for the California wife and mother who vanished while jogging near Redding.
She even made national headlines, which led to a three-week, multi-state search before she resurfaced on Thanksgiving Day in 2016.
However, everything was a hoax…now, she learned a hard lesson and slap with charges.
A mother of two facing a divorce, Sherri Papini was injured with bindings on her body and a brand on her right shoulder when police found her on a California freeway shortly before dawn in November 2016, ending a three-week search but sparking an investigation into her dubious claims.
Papini’s husband reported her missing at about 5:50 p.m. on Nov. 2, 2016, after she didn’t pick their children up from daycare. Amid extensive searches and a flood of tips, California Highway Patrol officers found her on Nov. 24, 2016, at about 4:30 a.m. after several motorists called 911 to report a woman standing or ruling the middle of Interstate 5 near the city of Woodland in Yolo County.
Papini told FBI agents she’d been abducted at gunpoint by two Hispanic women, but they determined she was lying and that she had instead been staying with an ex-boyfriend while concocting an elaborate kidnapping hoax that included self-inflicted injuries.
In the more than five years authorities to bring charges, prosecutors say Papini collected nearly $31,000 in 35 payments from the Crime Victims Compensation Board to pay for therapy sessions as well as new blinds for her home and to cover her ambulance transportation.
According to AWM:
Authorities were never able to arrest anyone in the case. But they were always puzzled because they had no idea what the “two Hispanic women’s” motivation was for kidnapping Papini and then just letting her go without receiving a ransom or anything.
Police collected DNA samples from Papini’s clothes when she was found in 2016. However, they never found any matches in their database. However, in 2020 they got a match. The DNA belonged to a boyfriend’s father, whose DNA was on record in the official database. When they traced the DNA to Papini’s ex-boyfriend, he confessed everything and told authorities that the entire kidnapping was a big hoax.
“In truth, Papini had been voluntarily staying with a former boyfriend in Costa Mesa and had harmed herself to support her false statements,” an announcement by the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California said in a release on Thursday night.
A plea deal struck in April called for prosecutors to recommend the low end of the standard range under the U.S. Sentencing Commission Guidelines, which was eight months.
U.S. Probation recommended an even more lenient sentence: One month in prison and seven months on home confinement. Papini’s lawyer urged Senior U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb to go with probation’s recommendation, but the judge instead imposed 18 months during a hearing Monday in the Eastern District of California’s Sacramento courthouse.
She’s to be on probation for three years and is to pay $309,902 to cover losses by the California Victim Compensation Board, the Social Security Administration, the FBI, and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office.
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