REDDING, California — A missing California mother of two who disappeared three weeks ago while out for a jog has been found alive on Thanksgiving day after being released by her abductors, police said.
Sherri Papini, 34, was bound with restraints when she flagged down a motorist along Interstate 5 in northern California’s Yolo County around 4:30 a.m.
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said Papini was taken to a local hospital with “non-life threatening” injuries which he would not disclose and had been reunited with her family. He would not say if she had been sexually assaulted.
“We are very ecstatic to report that Sherri Papini has been located and has been reunited with her husband and family on this day of Thanksgiving,” he said. “I am happy to say that Sherri is now safe.”
He said investigators did not yet know where Papini had been held since she was abducted, but that police were looking for two armed Hispanic women driving a dark-colored SUV who had let her go along the side of a rural county road north of Woodland, California.
“This investigation is far from over and has only begun a new chapter in our investigation. We do not know who the captors are or what their motive is at this time,” he said. “Until we identify a suspect or suspects, we urge the public to remain cautious.”
Papini had disappeared on Nov. 2 while out for a run near her Redding, California home. When her husband returned home and found her not there, he used the Find my iPhone app and located her phone and headphones, along with some strands of her blond hair nearby. Bosenko said detectives believe that is where she was abducted.
He said police did not yet know if Papini knew her abductors or if they had acted at random. The suspects appear to have never contacted anyone about a possible ransom, he said.
We will not rest until Sherri’s captor or captors are identified and brought to justice,” he said.
At the time of the abduction, Papini’s husband Keith said it was inconceivable that she would have left on her own and abandon her 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. “She was definitely taken against her will,” he told ABC News.
Police say Keith Papini passed a lie detector test and they do not consider him a suspect.