Sherri Papini

Sherri Papini copycat kidnapping?

A California kidnapping had some similarities to the mysterious Papini case

A recent California kidnapping case initially appeared to have some eerie similarities to the Sherri Papini mystery — but that may have been because the kidnapping victim did not initially tell authorities the whole story.

A female victim in her 20s was reportedly taken from her Sherman Oaks, California, home on Friday and found safe but shaken hours later in nearby Van Nuys, partially nude and bound. Initially, the victim told authorities that she did not know her attackers. And police told Fox LA that the victim told them she was kidnapped for prostitution purposes.

“I haven’t heard of anything like this before in all my years. It’s very disturbing, very concerning,” Lt. Albert Gavin with the Los Angeles Police Department initially told Fox LA.

Sherri Papini disappeared in Redding, California in early November after going for a jog. It was three weeks before she resurfaced, tossed from a car by her alleged captors on the side of the road, 150 miles from her home, in very bad physical shape: Thin, burned, branded, with her hands bound and still wearing a metal chain around her waist. She was screaming so loudly for help that she was coughing up blood. The case has been subject to widespread speculation and even conspiracy theories, but authorities have been treating it as a kidnapping-abduction, with possible ties to a prostitution ring. Papini reportedly told police her kidnappers were two Hispanic women.

The Sherman Oaks kidnapping victim also claimed to be snatched by two Hispanic women. But despite the similarities, police have updated the initial report to state their belief that the victim knew her kidnappers.

“I want the public to know … we don’t believe this was a stranger kidnapping. There is more to the story and the investigation,” Gavin told Fox LA.

It is unclear why the victim provided authorities with contradictory accounts of her alleged kidnapping. She is reportedly back at home after a two-day hospital stay.


Photo: Shasta County Sheriff’s Office