California woman is arrested for a false kidnapping where she involved two Hispanic women, but she was with her ex-boyfriend
A California woman named Sherri Papini, 39 years oldis a young mother who was allegedly kidnapped and miraculously returned and made international headlines in 2016, She was arrested on charges of making false statements to a federal official and participating in mail fraud.
Prosecutors reported that not only did he mislead investigators and wasted untold law enforcement resources, but he also made off with $30,000 in payments from the California Victim Compensation Board.
This case captured the public's attention and took on racial overtones when Papini, who is a white woman, told detectives that her kidnappers were two "Hispanic women."however, did not give details of both despite allegedly being kidnapped for 22 days.
Prosecutors say the Hispanic women were figments of Papini's imagination, and that she was voluntarily in Costa Mesa, California, with an ex-boyfriend the whole time.
In this way, DNA evidence led to ex-boyfriend and helped crack case dating back five yearsaccording to a 55-page criminal complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.
For its part, Papini's family criticized the authorities for the manner in which the woman's arrest was carried out and her announcement this Thursday. Although they did not deny the accusationsbut said that "we are confused by several aspects of the charges and hope to obtain clarification in the coming days."
"We love Sherri and are appalled at the way police ambushed her this afternoon in such a dramatic and unnecessary way in front of her children," an emailed statement said. "If she had been asked, Sherri, she would have complied and gone to the police station, as she has several times before, where this could have been handled in a more appropriate manner."
The statement also reads, "Sherri and Keith have been cooperative with law enforcement requests despite repeated attempts to confront them unnecessarily, empty threats to publicly shame them, and other conduct that was less than professional."
Also, Sherri Papini's husband, Keith, was present at the time the woman was allegedly missing, and according to the documents, he sat through most of the interviews she had with detectives once she returned.
The criminal complaint filed Thursday states that Papini's husband was with her during the first interview with her once he showed up because he didn't want to speak directly to police.
In addition, the criminal complaint revealed great details regarding the accusations against Sherri Papini, but does not allege criminal irregularities on the part of someone else.
The woman was 34 years old when she was reported missing from Mountain Gate on Nov. 2, 2016. Detectives searched Shasta County and California, as well as other states across the country.
On November 24, Thanksgiving Day, Papini was found on a country road in Yolo County, near Woodland, beaten and bound., according to what was said by the county sheriff's office. The woman had multiple restraints as well as visible injuries, including a mark on her right shoulder, authorities said.
Back then, Papini told officers that two Hispanic women had held her against her will at gunpoint. In addition, he provided a description of the alleged kidnappers to an FBI cartoonist. According to his statements, judicial bodies were looking for women who matched the description he had given.
In the end, the investigation suspected that Papini's story was totally made up and that she had stayed at her ex-boyfriend's house, where she hurt herself so that her story was convincing.
In the complaint, Courtney Lantto said that Papini had been in contact with her ex-boyfriend since 2015, almost a year before her alleged disappearance. They used prepaid cell phones to communicate and that she eventually told her ex-boyfriend, who was not named in the lawsuit, to pick her up in Redding, California.
United States Attorney Phillip Talbert, FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan, as well as Shasta County Sheriff Michael L. Johnson announced the arrest of Sherri Papini.
The case finally came to light in 2020, when Papini was hospitalized in Woodland upon her return, investigators collected male DNA from her underwear and sweatpants that did not match those of her husband Keith.
That's how in March 2020, the California Department of Justice's Family Search Committee voted to make public the DNA results using the sample and matching those on file, according to the complaint.
“The 22-day search for Sherri Papini and the subsequent five-year search for her alleged abductor not only demanded public resources, but caused the general public to fear for their own safety, a fear that they shouldn't have had to. make it stand,” said Shasta County Sheriff Michael L. Johnson.
If Papini is declared guilty of making false statements to a federal officer, He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
What's more, if convicted of mail fraud, she faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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