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DNA evidence, new clues revealed in mysterious Sherri Papini abduction case

Sherri Papini, a mother of two, was reported missing from Northern California in early November 2016 and was found three weeks later.
(Shasta County Sheriff’s Office)

It’s been almost a year since Redding mother Sherri Papini was abducted while jogging in Shasta County and then unexpectedly freed weeks later.

On Wednesday, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office released new details in the mysterious case, saying that the DNA of two other people was found on Papini when she was discovered partially clothed and shackled alongside Interstate 5 on Thanksgiving.

For the record:

5:25 PM, Oct. 26, 2017A previous version of this story said that both Papini and her husband took and passed a polygraph test. Only her husband took the test.

The samples belonged to a woman and a man and were collected off Papini’s body and clothing, respectively, said Sgt. Brian Jackson. The DNA samples submitted to the FBI did not belong to Papini or her husband.

Authorities also revealed Wednesday the existence of a male acquaintance from Michigan that Papini had been texting and had planned to meet when he was in California, then said he was not involved in the incident.

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Papini had vanished Nov. 2 while she was out for a jog in the small town of Mountain Gate.

Sketches of the suspects in Sherri Papini’s abduction.
(Shasta County Sheriff’s Office )

Her husband reported her missing after he came home from work and found that she hadn’t picked up their children from day care, officials said. Her cellphone and headphones were found near where she had last been seen, about a mile from her home, investigators said.

She was found before sunrise on Thanksgiving on the side of Interstate 5 in Yolo County with a quarter-inch-thick chain around her waist, hose clamps around her wrists, her face bruised and her nose broken from beatings she sustained during her time in captivity, her family said. She was emaciated and weighed only 87 pounds when she flagged down a motorist, who dialed 911.

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Officials said they were not aware of a motive for the apparent kidnapping. Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko also said it was not clear whether Sherri Papini knew her abductors.

Her captors branded her shoulder and cut her hair to shoulder-length, officials said. Her kidnappers covered their faces and usually had a bag over Papini’s head. They freed her by simply kicking her out of their car on the side of the road, authorities said.

Papini described her captors as two women who spoke Spanish most of the time. She described one of the captors as having long curly hair, pierced ears, thin eyebrows and a thick accent.

The second captor was described as being older, with thick eyebrows and straight black hair with some gray.

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Papini’s husband passed a polygraph test regarding their accounts of the incident, authorities said.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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