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Sherri Papini

‘Kidnap Mom’ Sherri Papini spotted at home

by Nancy Grace, Publisher

She hardly resembled the vibrant, youthful jogger she was just a few months ago

Missing “Kidnap Mom” Sherri Papini was spotted on Saturday in Redding, California, for the first time since the mystery kidnapping that transfixed and perplexed the nation.

The New York Post revealed the first photos of the California mom who was abducted on November 2 while jogging in her own neighborhood. Looking pale, weak and thin, like a ghost of the vibrant, young mom she was before her kidnapping ordeal, Papini was spotted outside her family home in the Sacramento Valley.  She was in a white jacket that accented her pallor, and was flanked by husband, Keith, and her two small children.

Notably, Papini’s blond hair was not visible.  According to reports, Sherri Papini’s hair was reportedly chopped off by female kidnappers.  When spotted, Papini’s hair was severely tucked inside a baseball cap.

A massive search ensued when Papini went missing.  Her husband went to work as usual that day.  At lunch time, he and his wife spoke by phone and he relayed he would not be coming home for lunch.

What happened after that still remains a mystery.  When husband Keith arrived home, he found an empty house…no Sherri and no children.

He says he knew immediately that something was horribly wrong.  He called the daycare facility the family used only to receive the news their children were still there. Sherri had never come to pick them up.  That was a first.

Using the ‘find my iPhone’ feature, he tracked Sherri’s cellphone to a nearby pathway where she often jogged.  There, he found her earbuds with strands of her hair in them…but no Sherri.  Keith immediately called 911.

The hunt ensued with law enforcement, volunteers, on foot, on ATV and by air.  There was no sign of Sherri nor were there clues as to what may have happened to her.  Her family had no choice but to wait.

Weeks later, on Thanksgiving Day, Sheri Papini was spotted 150 miles away in Yolo County, waving her arms as best she could at a passersby.  Her hands were bound and chained to a heavy object.  According to law enforcement, she was heavily bruised and battered.  A witness states she ran out toward cars trying to be spotted and picked up.

As her story emerged, many doubted her.  Papini says she was abducted at gunpoint by two Hispanic women driving a dark SUV. She told police that during the almost three weeks she was held captive, she was beaten, chained and actually branded.

She was not fed and nearly starved during that time, losing 13 pounds in captivity, according to her husband.  She told police the perps pushed her out of the SUV with a heavy chain wrapped around her waist and a bag forced over her head.  A driver called 911.

Papini said her head was covered while being held; she cannot describe her kidnappers aside from distinctive Hispanic accents. She also indicated one was older and the other woman was much younger.  Without vital information on their descriptions, however, police cannot release a composite sketch of the female perps.

Police say that the younger Hispanic woman had pierced ears, curly hair and thin eyebrows. The older woman had thick eyebrows and salt-and-pepper hair worn straight.

There are multiple theories as to the mystery surrounding Papini’s disappearance, but police continue to insist they have no reason to disbelieve her story.  Hopefully, the first sighting of Papini bodes well for her recovery.

[Feature Photo: Shasta County Sheriff’s Office]

An outspoken, tireless advocate for victims’ rights and one of television's most respected legal analysts, Nancy Grace was the powerful force behind CNN Headline News’ (HLN) top-rated Nancy Grace. A former prosecutor with an unparalleled record of success, she has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil and Larry King Live, among others, dispensing her firebrand take on the modern justice system. She is the New York Times bestselling author of four books and the executive producer of a on-going series of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries films based on the characters from her novels.  In 2011, Grace was named one of the most impactful and powerful women in entertainment by both leading industry trade magazines, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Now, everything important in Grace’s life – including her unwavering crusade for true justice – comes back to family. Since her marriage and the birth of her children, Nancy says, “I feel even more passionate about fighting for victims.” Nancy Grace, her husband and her twins reside in Atlanta and New York City with their rescue pets, a dog and a cat.