Could Sherri Papini be withholding information about her kidnappers?
That is the shocking theory being put forward by renowned criminal profiler John Kelly. He believes the young mother knows more about who abducted her but is too scared to tell cops.
“In many cases you have serial rapists [and] serial killers who will tell their victims, 'if I let you go, if you say anything to anyone, I know where you live, I know you have kids, I know you have a family, I am going to come back and kill you and I am going to come back and kill your family,'" he told Inside Edition.
He added: “I believe she knows descriptions of her captors. I think she knows more about what they look like, more about what they were driving. I don't know of another case — where somebody has been held for 22 days that does not have some kind of recollection of what their abductors look like.”
The young mom was abducted while jogging and brutally beaten, starved and branded during the ordeal.
“It's only by the grace of God that this woman was let go,” Kelly said.
He believes that the mom of two was able to create an understanding with her kidnappers and that may have saved her life.
“It is extremely rare, [but] there are cases where serial killers have let women go and these are situations where the woman was actually able to humanize themselves and create some kind of rapport with the serial rapist or serial killer — they were able to change themselves from an object to a person,” he said.
Papini was freed in the early hours of Thanksgiving morning and Kelly also believes the timing of her release is significant.
“I think they probably took Thanksgiving or the holiday into consideration,” he said. “She was tugging on their heartstrings — ‘its Thanksgiving, I want to be with my family. I haven't seen them in 22 days’.”
But he says it's only a matter of time before the kidnappers are caught and his best guess is that her captors were men.
“My best guess is a male or males, possibly with women,” he said. “[They] held her hostage for sexual [purposes], planned on disposing of her but through the course of her being held hostage she was able to tug on their heartstrings and convince them to let her go.”