Missing northern California mother found safe; freed herself from restraints and escaped captors
(CNN) — A 34-year-old mother of two has been found safe three weeks after she went missing while jogging in northern California, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday.
Sherri Papini was found in Yolo County, California, about 140 miles from the Mountain Gate trail where she was last seen.
Sheriff Tom Bosenko said Papini was spotted on the side of a road early Thursday by a driver.
“She is safe, in stable condition and receiving medical clearance at an undisclosed hospital. She has been reunited with her husband.”
Papini told authorities she had been held and had freed herself from restraints, Bosenko said.
Authorities are now looking for two women in a dark SUV in connection with the case, the sheriff added. They reportedly are armed. There is no known motive in the case, authorities said Thursday.
An iPhone, a pair of earbuds and a few strands of what was believed to be her hair were the only leads discovered in the days after Papini went missing November 2.They were found on a jogging path not far from the Papini’s home.
Neighbors told authorities Papini was last seen in the mid- to late-morning or early afternoon of November 2, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told HLN shortly after her disappearance. She was wearing a pink jogging top.
Later that day, her husband, Keith, arrived home and it was unusually quiet, he told CNN affiliate KRCR-TV at the time.
“On normal days, I would open the door and my family comes, runs and gives me a hug,” he told the station.
Papini was not home. Nor were the couple’s two children — ages 2 and 4. Her husband told the station that he called their day care center and learned the children hadn’t been picked up.
Papini used an app to track down his wife’s smartphone, KRCR reported. It was down the street from their home. “That’s when I knew she had been taken or abducted, in my opinion,” he told the station. Papini reported his wife missing.
‘Best mom I’ve ever seen’
Sheila Koester, Sherri’s older sister, told the station that Papini texted her husband that morning to see if he was coming home for lunch. He wrote back that he wasn’t.
Koester and Sherri’s sister-in-law, Suzanne Papini, both described the missing woman as a “supermom” who would not disrupt the routine of her children, KRCR reported shortly after the disappearance.
“She is an incredible human being,” Suzanne Papini told the station. “Best mom I’ve ever seen.”
Authorities used scent dogs and helicopters to search the area, Bosenko said. They also contacted registered sex offenders.
Keith Papini said he hadn’t told the children their mother was missing.