Los Angeles Times

A setback in kidnapping case?

- By Joseph Serna joseph.serna@latimes.com

Sherri Papini’s husband may have compromise­d the investigat­ion into her kidnapping when he released details of her time in captivity to the media without notifying law enforcemen­t, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said Wednesday.

“I did not know he was going to release this until a short time before I did a media interview,” Bosenko said at a news conference. “Yes, I think with some of the details he has provided it could affect the integrity of the investigat­ion.”

Keith Papini released a statement this week stating that his wife was found on the side of a road beaten, chained, with a bag over her head and weighing only 87 pounds. “My first sight was my wife in a hospital bed, her face covered in bruises ranging from yellow to black beeyebrows cause of repeated beatings, the bridge of her nose broken,” he wrote.

In an interview with “Good Morning America” that aired Wednesday morning, Bosenko added that Sherri Papini’s hair had been cut off and she had been branded. “I would think that was some sort of either an exertion of power and control and/or maybe some type of message that the brand contained,” he said. “It is not a symbol, but it was a message.”

Shasta County sheriff’s investigat­ors have interviewe­d Sherri Papini over the last two days, Bosenko said. “She was cooperativ­e and courageous” and did her best to provide a descriptio­n of her captors, he said.

Papini described her captors as two women who spoke Spanish most of the time, Bosenko said. She described one as having long, curly hair, pierced ears, thin and a thick accent. The second was described as being older, having straight black hair with some gray and thick eyebrows.

Deputies were working with a sketch artist to see if they can create renderings, but only the eyes likely would be shown, Bosenko said. The women had their faces covered much of the time, as did Papini, he said.

The women were driving a dark-colored SUV and had a handgun when they kidnapped Papini, Bosenko said. But when detectives showed her images of SUVs seen on cameras in the area around the time of her capture, she told authoritie­s none looked familiar.

“There’s still a lot of unknown about her assailants. However, we commend Sherri for her efforts to sit down with detectives and provide statements,” Bosenko said.

The 34-year-old woman was found bound by restraints along Interstate 5 in Yolo County. Officials were called about 4:30 a.m. Thanksgivi­ng Day after Papini flagged down a motorist. The mother of two was treated for injuries and reunited with her husband.

Officials said they were not aware of a motive for the abduction. Bosenko also said it was not clear whether Papini knew her kidnappers.

Papini disappeare­d Nov. 2 while out for a jog in the small town of Mountain Gate in Shasta County.

Her husband reported her missing after he came home from work and found that she hadn’t picked up their children from daycare. Her cellphone and headphones were found near where she had last been seen, about a mile from her home, investigat­ors said.

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