After five long years, Sherri Papini is finally revealing the truth about her faux kidnapping.
As you may recall, the 39-year-old mother from rural Redding, California claimed she was kidnapped by “two Hispanic women” who were armed while she was on a jog in 2016. Her town launched a 22-day search for her before she turned up on Thanksgiving Day bruised and battered, alleging that she had been locked in a bedroom and tortured.
Now, she is admitting it was all a ruse. According to her attorney William Portanova, Papini — who was arrested by federal authorities on March 3 — signed a plea agreement on Tuesday morning in which she agreed to plead guilty to counts of lying to a federal officer and mail fraud.
On the shocking change of heart, Sherri said in a statement released through her attorney:
“I am deeply ashamed of myself for my behavior and so sorry for the pain I’ve caused 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. I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done.”
Whoa. She now faces up to 25 years behind bars and fines of up to $500,000, according to the Department of Justice. It is unclear if she will face a lesser sentence now that she has accepted a plea deal.
Despite only being arrested earlier this year, this ordeal began on November 2, 2016. She claimed she’d gone out for a run when two masked women kidnapped her and proceeded to abuse her. She alleged that they branded her and chained her in a bedroom. But 22 days later she appeared in a parking lot. She was reunited with her family, including a husband and children ages 2 and 4 at the time. Much of the town was also glad to see her safely returned given the attention that had been placed on the case.
But things took a dark turn when the Department of Justice began investigating the incident and found that she had actually made up the entire thing!
In a press release following her March arrest, investigators claimed:
“In truth, Papini had been voluntarily staying with a former boyfriend in Costa Mesa and had harmed herself to support her false statements.”
They also reported that her crime had cost the California Victim’s Compensation Board over $30,000 in therapy visits and an ambulance trip. Jeez! Shasta County Sheriff Michael L. Johnson added:
“The 22-day search for Sherri Papini and subsequent five-year search into who reportedly abducted her was not only taxing on public resources but caused the general public to be fearful of their own safety, a fear that they should not have had to endure.”
Not to mention the trauma her family must still be grappling with after believing she had gone missing and had been tortured. Just so awful. Hear more on the latest details of this case (below).
Reactions? Can you believe she made this all up?!