Sherri Papini: Male DNA found on kidnapped California mother's clothes

Breakthrough comes almost a year after the mother of two was discovered at the side of a road

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Thursday 26 October 2017 12:00 BST
Police recovered Ms Papini's phone, earbuds and strands of her hair about a mile from her house
Police recovered Ms Papini's phone, earbuds and strands of her hair about a mile from her house (Shasta County Sheriff's Office)

Investigators believe they have made a major breakthrough in the case of a Californian woman, who was kidnapped, branded, chained up and tortured almost a year ago.

Sherri Papini, 34, went missing on 2 November 2016 after going for a jog near her home in Redding. She was discovered almost three weeks later, battered and bruised and over 150 miles away in Yolo County.

Shasta County Sheriff's said at the time that she had been branded with a "message" and her hair had been cut off.

"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," her husband Keith said at the time.

Revealing that she weighed just 39kg, he told ABC News' Good Morning America: "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.

"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."

When she recovered enough to speak to investigators, Ms Papini told police she had been dropped off by one of her captors whom she described as a young Hispanic woman.

At the time Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said the attacker was "a very sick person" who intended to "humiliate" and "wear down" Ms Papini.

Almost a year after her return the Sheriff's office said male DNA was collected from the clothing MsPapini was wearing and female DNA was discovered on her body. Neither sample has been identified.

They also said a man from Michigan had been texting Ms Papini in the days before she disappeared and had agreed to meet her while he was in California. Investigators interviewed the man and cleared him of any involvement.

"The California Department of Justice examined evidence collected from Sherri and two DNA profiles were compiled and uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), the national database that compares DNA profiles electronically with known offender profiles," Shasta County Sheriff's department said in a statement. "Keith was excluded."

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