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California

Missing mother ‘very emotional’ after being freed by captors, reunited with family, sheriff says

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

Sherri Papini, the Northern California mother missing for three weeks, was “very emotional” after being released by her captors on Thanksgiving morning, said Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko.

Papini, 34, was found bound by restraints along Interstate 5 in Yolo County. Officials were called about 4:30 a.m. after Papini was able to flag down a motorist. The mother of two was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and reunited with her husband, Keith.

Speaking on “Good Morning America,” Bosenko said detectives are hoping to get more information from her soon as part of the effort to find her kidnappers.

“Obviously she was emotional and quite upset, but elated to be freed, and so we were able to get some information from her,” he added. “Then in the days following this, we will be following up with her.”

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Officials said they were searching for two women in connection with the abduction. They were last seen driving a dark SUV and were believed to be armed with a handgun.

“This investigation is far from over,” Bosenko said.

Officials said they were not aware of a motive for the kidnapping and did not provide details on Papini’s injuries or whereabouts. Bosenko also said it was not clear if Papini knew her abductors.

The Redding resident disappeared Nov. 2 while out for a jog in the small town of Mountain Gate in Shasta County.

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

Her disappearance made national news, and the community launched an aggressive manhunt to find her. They shared her story on social media and launched volunteer searches.

A private group working with Papini’s family released a video Wednesday offering $100,000 to anyone with information leading to her safe return, according to NBC affiliate KNVN.

Bosenko said police had received more than 400 tips in the case, but Papini’s release was not a result of the reward money.

“It shows what a community can do when it works together to get the word out,” he said.  

To read the article in Spanish, click here

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