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11 Things to Know About Sherri Papini's Kidnapping Hoax: From the Time of the Incident to Her Arrest

everything to know about sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA

Jul. 5 2024, Published 7:30 p.m. ET

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Sherri Papini's Kidnapping Hoax Happened in 2016

sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA

On November 2, 2016, Sherri Papini went out for an afternoon jog in her Redding, Calif., neighborhood and did not come home. Her then-husband, Keith Papini, realized something was wrong when the matriarch failed to pick up their kids, Tyler and Violet, from daycare.

Keith tried to track her location through her phone and earbuds, but she was never found in the detected site near the intersection of Old Oregon Trail and Sunrise Drive.

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A Search Was Conducted for Sherri Papini

sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA

As the missing person case became a national story, the investigators and the Shasta County Sherriff's Office conducted a search. Authorities initially assumed Keith had something to do with Sherri's disappearance as rumors about him lawyering up emerged. The buzz was debunked by self-identified family member Rod Rodriguez III.

"In regard to the hurtful rumors regarding Keith, everyone that actually knows him knows of his and Sherri's wonderful loving relationship and devotion to their family and knows he had nothing to do with Sherri's disappearance," said Rod. "That is why everyone of them was out searching last weekend, one notable family rented search helicopters and another couple cut their vacation short and flew home across the Atlantic while another flew down from Idaho."

Keith passed a lie detector test, and his alibi proved he did not have something to do with Sherri's disappearance.

At the time, Shasta County Sherriff's Office spokesman Lieutenant Anthony Bertain noted in a November 11, 2016, statement that detectives were trying to determine whether Sherri's case was voluntary or not.

Sherri Papini Was Found 22 Days After She Went Missing

sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA

On November 24, 2016, Thanksgiving Day, Sherri was found after several motorists called 911 regarding a woman standing and running down in the middle of Interstate 5 in Yolo County. The California Highway Patrol soon found Sherri, covered with bruises and had a chain around her waist and wrist.

"We are overwhelmed with joy of how supportive everyone has been to help bring us together as a family again," the family said in a statement after finding Sherri. "Everyone's tireless efforts has made our family whole again this Thanksgiving. Thank you for allowing our family time to heal."

She was taken to Woodland Hospital in Yolo County and reunited with Keith, who immediately felt like his then-wife was lying.

At the time, Sherri claimed two Hispanic women abducted her.

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Sherri Papini Shared Her Story Afterward

sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA

In her statement included in the 55-page criminal complaint affidavit, Sherri claimed two Hispanic women forced her into a dark SUV while she was out for a run. She said she was chained to a metal pole in a bedroom closet for three weeks and heard her alleged kidnappers conversing in Spanish.

According to Sherri, she tried to escape several times until she was reportedly able to run away. She informed the therapist that she was "physically and emotionally tortured, beaten, burned, branded, and drugged." The specialist diagnosed her with acute post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident.

However, investigators who interviewed her repeatedly found lapses in her story.

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Authorities Determined the Kidnapping Story Was a Fabrication

sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA

In August 2020, authorities determined that Sherri fabricated her story after hearing her interview with the FBI. They received a tip about her ex-boyfriend picking her up and driving her to Costa Mesa, Calif., where she reportedly voluntarily stayed.

Investigators also had her clothing tested for biological matter, and they soon discovered a DNA belonging to a male. They tried to run a search in the criminal database but found no positive hits.

It later matched to James Reyes, Sherri's ex-boyfriend.

"There were some infidelity issues in her background that even Keith had told us about," Former Shasta County Sherriff's Deputy Captain Pat Kropholler told ABC News.

Detectives said Sherri lied to James when she told him she was being abused by Keith. James added he had no idea about the two Hispanic women and the alleged gunpoint Sherri talked about. He said she also cut her own hair and self-inflicted most of her injuries, completing the kidnapping story.

Despite the findings, Sherri firmly stuck to her story, which involved unidentified Hispanic women.

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Sherri Papini Was Arrested in 2022

sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA
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Following the revelations, Sherri was cuffed and charged with lying to federal investigators. She was also slapped with 34 counts of mail fraud.

On April 18, 2022, Sherri admitted she lied by pleading guilty to one count of making false statements to a federal officer and one count of mail fraud. Her attorney William Portanova's office released a statement afterward.

"I am deeply ashamed of myself for my behavior and so sorry for the pain I've caused all my family, my friends, all the good people who needlessly suffered because of my story and those who worked so hard to try to help me," said Sherri. "I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done."

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Keith Papini Filed for Divorce

sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA

Days after Sherri entered guilty pleas, Keith filed for divorce in Shasta County, Calif., stating his estranged wife "has not been acting in a rational manner."

"I wish to make it clear that my goal is to provide a loving, safe, stable environment for [the pair's children] and I believe the requested orders are consistent with that goal and the best interests of the children," Keith said in a statement to People. "I do not want to say anything in the pleadings connected to this matter that would inflame the situation or attract media attention."

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She Was Sentenced and Went to Prison

sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA

Sherri was sentenced to 18 months in prison on September 18, 2022. Though she ended up serving only 11 months, it was followed by 36 months of supervised release.

She was ordered to pay $309,902 to cover the costs of the investigation. The amount included the money she received from the California Victim's Compensation Board and Social Security Disability income.

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Lifetime Created a Movie About Sherri Papini

sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA

In July 2023, Lifetime released the film, Hoax: The Kidnapping of Sherri Papini, with Jaime King as the lead star.

"Frankly, it made me mad," King said of the story. "You could see this woman that's seemingly beautiful and perfect, and the way that they told her story was basically that she's this terrible human being that did this horrific thing to her family and the community. And she did make some horrific choices, absolutely."

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Keith Papini Broke His Silence Again

sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA

In June, Keith spoke with ABC News' Matt Gutman to reveal his family's status following their divorce.

“She took advantage of everybody’s kindness and so many people were hurt,” Keith shared. “She made us all believe that her story was true … Every single day, she committed to the lie.”

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Sherri Papini's Kidnapping Hoax Will Be the Subject of a New Docuseries

sherri papinis kidnapping hoax
Source: MEGA

Eight years after her hoax disappearance, Sherri will speak out in the upcoming documentary series produced by Asylum Entertainment Group and Lady Moon Entertainment for Investigation Discovery.

"Sherri Papini drew worldwide attention when she went missing and then again, when she returned. While many perspectives have been told, there is one point of view that the world hasn’t heard and that is from Sherri herself," ID's president, Jason Sarlanis, said in a press release. "Investigation Discovery will present a new side of Sherri Papini’s case – told by her in her own words."

The docuseries has been set for a 2025 premiere.

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