Tracking the Sherri Papini Investigation

Remember Sherri Papini?  She is the woman who went missing in Redding on November 2, 2016.  Her husband reported her missing after she apparently went out for a jog and didn’t return.  There was an intense search for her for nearly three weeks.  On Thanksgiving Day 2016 she resurfaced along Interstate 5 in Yolo County.  The case attracted national and international media attention.

There’s a new twist in an already suspicious story.  Panini claims she was abducted by two women.  DNA tests show a woman’s DNA was found on Papini’s body and a man’s DNA was found on her clothes.  The male DNA was not from Papini’s husband, begging the question of how it got there.

Among the new information released this week was that Papini’s hair was cut and she was branded on her right shoulder.  According to law enforcement the brand contains “obscure letters” and they are working to decipher what it says.

When Papini was found she had a chain around her waist and her left wrist was tethered to the chain with a zip tie, she had hose clamps around her ankles.

Panini claimed she was abducted by two Hispanic women.  According to reports she was unable to provide law enforcement with few details because she claimed the woman spoke only Spanish and kept their faces covered.

Early on in the investigation Papini gave a few interviews to media outlets.  In at least one interview she claimed she fought back against one her captors.  She told detectives she cut her foot during the fight but detectives were unable to find any marks or other evidence consistent with her story.

Prior to disappearing, Papini had been exchanging text messages with a man in Michigan.  Law enforcement has released information that Papini and the Michigan man texted each other in an attempt to meet in California when he was traveling in California on business.  Detectives traveled to Michigan and interviewed the man, they have determined he was not involved in her disappearance.

While a captive, Sherri Papini lost weight and had the bridge of her nose broken.

Law enforcement has said there is no evidence that this is a hoax but the mounting inconsistencies have caused scrutiny of Papini’s background.  In the early 2000s Papini’s family filed incident reports with law enforcement that Sherri Papini harmed herself and blamed the injuries on others.  Another report was made by Papini’s father who alleged Sherri burglarized his residence.  Panini’s sister claimed Sherri Papini had kicked in the door to her home.

There are elements of this case that are very odd.  For example, Papini claims she was abducted by two women.  This isn’t the kind of crime women generally commit on their own, there’s usually a man or two also involved in this kind of predatory behavior.  The branding allegation is also odd.  That conduct is more consistent with certain gangs trying to send a message.

Regardless of how odd the story is that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.  Law enforcement is still investigating.  In fact there have been more than 20 search warrants executed in connection with this investigation – all of the search warrant affidavits remain sealed.