Woman Who Faked 2016 Kidnapping & Torture, Pleads Guilty to All Charges

Woman Who Faked 2016 Kidnapping & Torture, Pleads Guilty to All Charges
Woman Who Faked 2016 Kidnapping & Torture, Pleads Guilty to All Charges (Image: Screenshot/YouTube/CBS Sacramento)

A woman from Northern California pleaded guilty on Monday to faking her own kidnapping and telling lies to the FBI about it, leaving her motive unsolved in the meticulously staged ruse that sparked a massive three-week search before she reemerged on Thanksgiving Day in 2016.

During the half-hour court hearing, Sherri Papini, 39, of Redding, gave no explanation for her elaborate scheme, answering only “Yes, Your Honor” and “No, Your Honor” in a shaky voice as Senior U.S. District Judge William Shubb highlighted the charges and evidence against her.

When Shubb asked how she was feeling, she cried and said, “I feel very sad.” Papini agreed to plead guilty to the charges after reaching an agreement with prosecutors last week, and he will be sentenced on July 11.

Prosecutors did agree to suggest a sentence on the lower end of the sentencing range, ranging from 8 to 14 months in prison, rather than the maximum of 25 years for the two charges.

She furthermore promised to pay a total of $300,000 in restitution. This covers the cost of the multi-state search for her and the police investigation into the “two Hispanic women” she claimed kidnapped her at the point of a gun.

Papini had been actually staying with a previous boyfriend in Orange County, California, nearly 600 miles (966 kilometers) away. He decided to drop her off by Interstate 5 nearly 150 miles (240 kilometers) from her residence 3 weeks later.

Her body was bound, and she had self-inflicted injuries such as an engorged nose and a blurred “brand” on her right shoulder. Her body was covered in bruises and rashes, as well as cord marks on her wrists and ankles and burns on her left forearm.

The married mother of 2 continued to lie about it until August 2020, when she admitted in her guilty plea that there was no kidnapping.

Papini has provided no explanation for her actions.



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