Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko held a press conference Tuesday and shared more information about Sherri Papini’s kidnapping, including injuries she received from her captors.
“The Shasta County Sheriffs Major Crimes Unit continues to dedicate all of its resources to identifying and apprehending those individuals who are responsible for the abduction of Sherri Papini.
Over the last two days, major crimes detectives have interviewed Sherri at an undisclosed location. The interviews were very intense for both the investigators and for Sherri – her having to relive this traumatic event. She was cooperative and courageous during interviews.
On Thursday the 24th, Thanksgiving Day, at about 4:30 in the morning, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office received news that Sherri was located. We learned that she had been released by her captors near a rural road in Yolo County near Interstate 5. She was bound with restraints but was able to summon help from a passing motorist traveling on I-5 near County Road 17. During the interviews with Sherri, she described the sequence of events to the best of her recollection.
Remember that she was held against her will and was isolated. There are still a lot of unknowns about her assailants; however, we commend Sherri for her efforts to sit down with our detectives and provide a statement. I would like to remind the media that we will not disclose everything about the case or what Sherri provided us for the integrity of the investigation as it is active and ongoing.
Sherri described her assailants as two Hispanic female adults. She related that both of the subjects spoke in Spanish the majority of the time of her captivity. Further, the suspects concealed their faces in an attempt to hide their identities from her.
She provided the following information regarding the suspects: Suspect number one was the younger of the two suspects. She had long, curly hair. She had a thick accent. She had pierced ears. She had thin eyebrows. Suspect number two was the older of the two suspects. She had thick, black hair with greying color. She had thick eyebrows.
Sherri did her best that she could in providing the descriptions, but was not able to provide a detailed description due to the suspects covering their faces, and at times, Sherri’s head was covered.
Detectives showed Sherri surveillance video which was recovered on November 2 of several SUV-style vehicles that were seen in the area at the time of her abduction.
According to Sherri, none of the vehicles shown to her in the video were a match. Sherri did receive injuries over the three-week period in which she was abducted and held captive. I will confirm that the suspects did brand her. I will not get into details of where the brand is located on her body, nor what was branded on her for, again, the integrity of the investigation.
Major crime unit continues to dedicate all available resources towards this investigation. Evidence items gathered from the Yolo County scene will be submitted to the California Department of Justice for physical examination and processing.
Detectives have written additional search warrants for cellphone information and are receiving data as it becomes available. I’m very thankful for the many tips and the community support to both the Papini family and to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office. I’d like to think the following agencies for their continued assistance throughout this investigation: Shasta County Probation Department, Shasta County District Attorney’s Office, The Redding Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, California Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, AMR Ambulance, and the Shasta County Search and Rescue Team.
Until we identify the suspects, the public should remain cautious. As always, we continue to ask for the public’s help. Our call to action is for anyone with information related to Sherri’s abduction, her subsequent release, or the identity of the suspects to call their local law enforcement authority. The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office has a tip line. That number is active 24 hours a day, and that number is (530) 245-6135. Callers can also call tips into Shasta County Secret Witness. And that number is (530) 243-2319.
We are thankful that Sherri has been reunited with her family and asked to keep the Papini family in your thoughts and prayers throughout this holiday season. I also want to thank Keith Papini, her husband, for his cooperation and information in this case throughout this investigation. Again, this is an active investigation and there is sensitive information is not being disclosed for the integrity of the investigation.
The sheriff’s office will continue to update the media when information is developed. As of today, there’s not going to be further one-on-one interviews, press conferences or news releases unless new information or new developments in the case take place.
At this time, this includes my prepared statement.”
(Most of the reporter questions below are paraphrased because of the poor audio recording.)
Reporter: Were there only ever these two female captors, or was there a male captor involved?
Sheriff Boseko: All the information we have at this time are the two Hispanic females. They were armed with a handgun and that’s all we have at this time. Of course, if other information develops, we’ll let you know.
Reporter: Can you tell us a little bit about the evidence [that was found at the scene]?
Sheriff Boseko: There are a number of items that were retrieved as evidence in Yolo County. Again I’m not going to get into the specific details of all the evidence. We have received the evidence back from Yolo County and we will be turning it over to the California Department of Justice for processing.
Reporter: Why was she taken?
Chief Boseko: We still do not have a motive as to the reason why Miss Papini was taken. We do not know if she was a specific target or if this is a random abduction.
Reporter: Was she taken to one location or was she moved around?
Sheriff Boseko: We’re not providing information the specifics of where she may have been taken after the abduction at this time, but valid question.
Reporter: Will you be releasing sketches of the suspects?
Sheriff Boseko: We are discussing that with a sketch artist. Again, as you heard from the descriptions that I provided, very minimal, and the suspects had their faces covered to hide their identities. But we’re going to discuss that with the sketch artist to see if there’s enough, maybe at least the eye area of the suspects out.
Reporter: We have heard reports of a purported blog that was written of hers before she was married to her husband Keith. Have you been getting any tips on that, like if it was actually written from her – such as skinheads and things like that…have they investigated an IP address from her?
Sheriff Boseko: We are familiar with that blog that you are referring to. It was written, at least posted, in 2003, roughly 13 years ago. She would have been about age 20 or 21. We do not know that it has any relevance to this case or not.
Reporter: Did she provide any information about how she was treated when she was held captive?
Sheriff Boseko: We are not providing details of that information there.
Reporter: Did you know that Keith was going to release a statement? And if so, did it hurt your investigation?
Sheriff Boseko: I did not know that he was going to the release this until a short time before I did a media interview. And yes, I do think some of the details that he provided could affect the integrity of the investigation.
Reporter: Is there any indication that this is cartel-related or sex trafficking?
Sheriff Boseko: A very good question. We do not have specific information if it was related to a cartel info or human trafficking.
Reporter: Have you heard of any case anywhere similar to this one?
Sheriff Boseko: We have been in touch with other agencies with this investigation and are looking into those aspects of it.
Reporter: You talked about these two women and their identities. Have you looked into people and Sherri’s past that may have had an issue with her? Maybe there’s a connection there?
Sheriff Boseko: Yes, our investigators have looked into her past and that is part of the ongoing investigation.
Reporter: Can you say if they stayed in the area?
Sheriff Boseko: I don’t have specific information as to the location or locations where she may have been taken other than she was located near County Road 17 in Yolo County along I-5, which is approximately 115 miles from Redding.