Woman Who Claimed She Was Kidnapped And Beaten Admits She Staged Crime For Years
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Featured Image Credit: Shasta County Sheriff
Sherri Papini, the woman who claimed she was kidnapped and held captive for three weeks, has admitted she made it all up.
Back in 2016, authorities launched a search for the 39-year-old California mother, who was said to have disappeared while out on a jog.
Three weeks later on Thanksgiving Day, 2016, Papini emerged in chains, her body looking battered and bruised, claiming she had been subjected to a brutal kidnapping.
The story the mother relayed seemed horrific, saying she'd been held captive for three weeks by two armed women who inflicted her with brands marks and had cut her hair off.
She then claimed she was eventually released by the two women who kidnapped her, while officials frantically began a search for those behind the seemingly random crime.
Papini described the women as 'Hispanic' an allegation that prompted an FBI sketch artist to create a portrait and led to a search in California and other states that lasted five years. But all of that, it turns out, was a lie, as the Department of Justice revealed last month.
Papini was alleged to have caused the injuries herself and wasn't held captive at all. Instead, she was said to have been staying at an ex-boyfriends house in Southern California.
A statement made by the US attorney's office said: "In truth, Papini had been voluntarily staying with a former boyfriend in Costa Mesa and had harmed herself to support her false statements," as per NBC.
According to the outlet, Papini's ex was said to have picked her up in Redding, after she said she needed to get away.
As reported by The Guardian, a cousin of the ex was also said to have told investigators that he saw Papini, unrestrained, in the man's apartment twice, with records backing up the ex's story that he rented a car and drove Papini back to northern California three weeks later.
BuzzFeed News obtained a statement from Papini herself, who said she was 'deeply ashamed' of herself.
She said: "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."
The California mother faced 34 counts of mail fraud, in relation to payments made to a therapist who was treating her purported PTSD, and one count of making a false statement.
On Tuesday, according to a plea agreement filed in the US District Court for Eastern California, the disgraced mother agreed to plead guilty to two counts of mail fraud and lying to a law enforcement officer. These charges carry maximum sentences of 20 years and 5 years.
Shasta County Sheriff Michael L. Johnson said in a statement: "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."
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Topics: News, US News, True crime