Sheriff: Mom held captive for weeks emotional after release

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A woman who was kidnapped after leaving her Northern California home to jog and held captive for three weeks was “very emotional” after a passing driver found her on the side of a rural road, a local sheriff said Friday.

Authorities were looking for two armed women they believe abducted Sherri Papini, 34, on Nov. 2, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said in an interview on “Good Morning America.” He called it very rare for her to be released about 150 miles south of where she disappeared near Redding.

Papini was found Thanksgiving morning bound by restraints near Interstate 5 but was able to flag down a driver, Bosenko said. The motorist called authorities, who connected the mother of two to her husband by cellphone.

“She was very emotional to be released and hear her husband’s voice and then a few hours later to be reunited with him,” the sheriff said.

Papini was treated at a hospital for unspecified injuries and released. Officials said they were not aware of a motive for the kidnapping.

Investigators have spoken with Papini but hoped to get more information soon in the effort to uncover what happened over the last three weeks, Bosenko said. It was not clear if she knew the women she said abducted her, police said.

“Obviously she was emotional and quite upset, but elated to be freed, and so we were able to get some information from her,” Bosenko said. “Then, in the days following this, we will be following up with her.”

Family members previously called her a “super mom” who would never abandon her family. Her husband reported her missing when she failed to pick up their two young children from day care.

Her cellphone and headphones were found near where she was last seen.

“She could drop her phone, but she would never in a million years not pick up our children at the time that she normally would have,” Keith Papini told “Good Morning America” before his wife was found.

Her husband was cleared as a suspect after passing a polygraph test. Before she was found, he said he was “getting very angry and frustrated” and “scared for my wife.”

Police had received more than 400 tips in the case, but Papini’s release was not the result of a $100,000 reward that was offered, Bosenko said.

“It shows what a community can do when it works together to get the word out,” he said.

Phone numbers for Papini and some of her family rang through Friday, and the Shasta County sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to calls, messages and emails seeking comment.

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