Sherri Papini: Video shows kidnapped California mother moments before she was discovered

The mother-of-two was found on Thanksgiving last year after being missing for three weeks 

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Wednesday 08 November 2017 17:39 GMT
CCTV shows ‘abducted’ jogger Sherri Papini unshackled and running to safety on day she was found

New footage has been released of the moment a kidnapped California mother ran from her captors, moments before she was discovered and taken to safety.

Sherri Papini, 34, went missing in November last year after going for a jog. She was discovered 22 days later on Interstate 5 on Highway 99, in Yolo County, over 150 miles away from her home, after she flagged down a truck driver.

New footage released by Shasta County police shows Mrs Papini running to a Jehovah’s Witness church in the area before running back towards the Interstate in the grainy video.

"She's seen going southbound on [Highway] 99 west towards Interstate 5 where she goes out of view to the right, the direction of the ramp to northbound Interstate 5," Sergeant Brian Jackson told CBS News.

Mrs Papini had been dropped off on the side of County Road 17 near the interstate when she was discovered. She managed to flag down the driver about seven minutes after the footage was taken, police said.

She had been branded, chained up, and left battered and bruised by her captors, and was discovered bound with restraints while her hair had been cut to shoulder length and she described her attackers as two Hispanic women who wore masks over their mouths.

Mrs Papini was taken to hospital where she was reunited with her husband Keith. In an interview last year, Mr Papini told ABC News’ Good Morning America: "Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see upon my arrival at the hospital, nor the details of the true hell I was about to hear.

"My first sight was my wife in a hospital bed, her face covered in bruises ranging from yellow to black because of repeated beatings, the bridge of her nose broken.

911 phone call made my Keith Papini after discovering his wife was missing

"Her signature long blond hair had been chopped off. She has been branded, and I could feel the rise of her scabs under my fingers. She was thrown from a vehicle with a chain around her waist, attached to her wrists and a bag over her head. The same bag she used to flag someone down once she was able to free one of her hands."

Last month investigators released new information about the case, believing they had made a major breakthrough. Male DNA was collected from Mrs Papini’s clothing and female DNA was found on her body, though neither sample has been identified.

Police have recently questioned parts of Mrs Papini’s account however, after she told a forensic interviewer that she cut the side of her right foot during a struggle with one of the women. Sgt Jackson said that “when she was being processed in the hospital… no evidence of a cut was seen in the photographs”.

Mrs Papini alleges she was abducted by two women, sketches of whom have been released by the FBI, and a $10,000 (£7,500) reward is being offered for information about the women.

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