California woman admits she faked 2016 kidnapping

Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 12, 2022

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California woman is admitting that she faked her own kidnapping more than five years ago.

The search for 39-year-old Sherri Papini of Redding set off a three-week search until she resurfaced on Thanksgiving Day in 2016.

But federal prosecutors alleged in early March that she actually was staying with a former boyfriend nearly 600 miles away in Southern California.

They said she injured herself to back up her false statements.

Papini was arrested in March on charges of making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and engaging in mail fraud.

Her attorney, William Portanova, confirmed that she signed a plea agreement Tuesday.

On Nov. 2, 2016, Papini was reported missing and after she resurfaced 22 days later, she initially told authorities that she was abducted and held at gunpoint by two Hispanic women, the Associated Press reported.

But investigators said she fabricated her story and in August 2020, they presented her with evidence that showed she had not been abducted. Even then she didn't retract her original kidnapping story.

A spokesperson for federal prosecutors couldn't confirm the plea deal until something is on the public record.