Sherri Papini says she is ‘deeply ashamed’ of faking own kidnapping

DNA found on Papini’s sweatpants and underwear eventually led to the unravelling of her claims

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 19 April 2022 00:14 BST
Sherri Papini: California woman to plead guilty for staging own kidnapping

Sherri Papini says she is “deeply ashamed” of faking her own kidnapping in 2016 as she appeared in court to plead pleaded guilty to mail fraud and making false statements.

Papini, 39, told the US District Court for the Eastern District of California during a virtual hearing that she had been treated for anxiety, depression, and PTSD for five years starting in 2016.

“I am deeply ashamed of myself for my behavior and so sorry for the pain I’ve caused my family, my friends, all the good people who needlessly suffered because of my story and those who worked so hard to try to help me,” Papini said in a statement.

“I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done.”

Last month, prosecutors revealed that DNA found on Papini’s sweatpants and underwear led to the unravelling of the California woman’s alleged kidnapping claims, investigators say.

Court charging documents reveal that the DNA, discovered after the 39-year-olds re-appearance in California in November 2016, did not belong to her female “abductors” or her husband.

Ms Papini told authorities she had been abducted at gunpoint and held captive by two armed and masked Hispanic women, one in her 20s or 30s and the other between 40 and 50.

The DNA was later discovered by investigators in 2017 and would eventually lead to the conclusion that she had run away from home and not been abducted.

The investigation heated up when authorities requested a “familial DNA” search in 2019, which scours DNA databanks for male relatives of an unknown suspect.

The indictment in the case states that in March 2020 police were notified that a potential male relative of the unknown male in the case, whose DNA was on Ms Papini’s clothing, had been identified. That male was related to an ex-boyfriend of Ms Papini.

Three months later investigators took a bottle of Honest Honey Green Tea from trash outside the ex-boyfriend’s apartment in Southern California.

And the following day law enforcement scientists “concluded that the DNA obtained from the mouth area of the Honest Honey Green Tea bottle matched the unknown male DNA collected from Papini’s clothing.”

The FBI affidavit states that when police interviewed the ex-boyfriend in August 2020 he admitted helping Ms Papini “run away” after she claimed “her husband was beating and raping her, and she was trying to escape.”

He said that he had picked her up in Redding, California, and taken her back to his apartment in Cosa Mesa, where she “created the injuries while staying with him, including hitting herself to create bruises and burning herself on her arms,” according to the complaint.

Following her arrest she was released on $120,000 bail but had to surrender her passport and agree to mandated psychiatric treatment.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in