Mom Charged With Faking 2016 Kidnapping Had 'Other People' Involved, Sheriff Says

In 2016, Sherri Papini said she had been violently abducted and held captive for three weeks. Authorities now say she was with an ex-boyfriend the whole time. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

The sheriff overseeing the Sherri Papini case says he wouldn’t be surprised if more people were charged after Papini was arrested last week for allegedly faking her own abduction in 2016. 

“I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if other people were charged in this charade, because there were other people in the know and there were other people involved,” Shasta County Sheriff Michael Johnson said. 

After Papini was reported missing by her husband in 2016, she was found three weeks later — bruised and branded — and told police she had been kidnapped and held against her will.

In an affidavit, the FBI now claims she was actually holed up in an ex-boyfriend’s home in Costa Mesa. 

According to the court document, the ex-boyfriend admitted to helping Papini “run away,” because she claimed she’d been abused by her husband.

According to the affidavit, the ex-boyfriend said Papini asked him to board up the windows so no light could come in. During their time together, the ex told investigators that he "slept on the couch in the living room" while she "had her own room," and that she hit herself to create bruises and asked him to brand her shoulder.

Three weeks later, Papini asked to be driven back to her home in Northern California, the court document alleges. She was found wandering and told investigators she'd been kidnapped by two Hispanic women.

According to published reports, a man named James Reyes was once engaged to Papini, leading to speculation he may have helped aid her.

Papini is now being held at the Sacramento County Jail, where her attorney argued she should be released on bail, claiming she has only had an apple to eat since cops arrested her, because she has food allergies. 

The sheriff also says he does not believe Papini's husband is involved. The ex-boyfriend who spoke to investigators has not been charged with any crime.

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