The story of Sherri Papini, 34, whose alleged abduction and brutalization brought about an outpouring of attention in November 2016, has become more mysterious. According to reports, Papini was jogging near her home in Redding, California, when she was kidnapped. Three weeks later and after a search by local law enforcement, Papini reappeared on a highway approximately 150 miles from her home. She could not describe her abductors, and local law enforcement has yet to make any arrests.
 
According to a report in the Sacramento Bee newspaper, Papini’s mother, Loretta Graeff, alleged to authorities in a December 2003 911 call that Papini “had been harming herself and blaming the injuries on her.” At the time, Papini was 21 years old. The terse incident report by the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office obtained by the newspaper did not reveal any inquiry into whether or not Papini has indeed harmed herself. A deputy did speak with Graeff at the time, who wanted advice about how to deal with Papini, who was planning to return home.
 
 
Papini’s father, Richard Graeff, and sister, Sheila, also contacted police. In 2000, her father alleged that Papini had burglarized his home, while her sister alleged that year that she believed that Papini had kicked her door in. No arrests were noted in the reports, according to the newspaper and the sheriff’s office did not confirm whether Papini had ever been charged.
 
The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate Papini’s alleged abduction for which no motive has so far been offered. Investigators have kept their comments about the case to a minimum. However, it has emerged that Shasta County investigators travelled to Detroit for investigatory purposes related to the case. Speculation about the case remains rife. Because Papini told investigators that her two abductors were Latino women, her case has drawn comparisons to hoaxes in which crime victims falsely accused racial and ethnic minorities.
 
Nicole Wool, a family spokesperson. Denounced what she regarded as "shameful" coverage by the  Sacramento Bee for reporting on the 911 call of 2003.  In a statement to the media, Wool said, "This newspaper’s decision to aggressively seek out and publish unsubstantiated online activity and distort phone conversations from 16 years ago is victim-blaming at its most egregious. It is our hope that the media will honor their privacy as they work through this difficult time."


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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