Shasta County Sheriff’s Office investigators Tuesday released surveillance video that shows Sherri Papini running through a church parking lot shortly after she was released by her abductors on Thanksgiving morning last year.
The video, captured about 4:15 a.m., shows the Redding mother of two running by the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Woodland and out of view. Moments later, she returns into the frame and runs back in the direction she came, toward Interstate 5.
“She went to the church looking for help,” said Shasta County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Jackson. But since it was before dawn, “nobody was there.”
Papini had disappeared three weeks earlier while she was out for a jog in the small town of Mountain Gate, in Shasta County. Her husband reported her missing after he came home from work and found that she hadn’t picked up their children from daycare.
Early on Thanksgiving morning, her kidnappers kicked her out of their car on the side of a road near the church. Minutes after the surveillance video was taken, a trucker heading north on Interstate 5 spotted Papini on a freeway onramp in Yolo County and stopped to help.
She had a quarter-inch-thick chain around her waist and hose clamps around her wrists. Her face was bruised and her nose broken from beatings she sustained during her time in captivity, according to her family. She weighed only 87 pounds.
Her captors, described by Papini as two women who mostly spoke Spanish, branded her shoulder and cut her hair to shoulder-length, authorities said.
Papini’s captors kept their faces covered. She described one of them as having long, curly hair, pierced ears, thin eyebrows and a thick accent. The second was described as older, with thick eyebrows and straight, black hair with some gray.
Authorities found the DNA of two people on Papini after her release. The samples did not match Papini or her husband.
Since releasing new details of the investigation late last month, investigators have fielded about 50 tips. Authorities released the surveillance footage this week in hopes of generating more.
A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to the identification of the kidnappers. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at (916) 746-7000.
Times staff writer Joseph Serna contributed to this report.