The California mother-of-two who mysteriously vanished while jogging was abducted – but has been freed by her captor after three weeks and reunited with her husband and family on Thanksgiving Day, police said on Thursday.
Sherri Papini, 34, was found bound on the side of the road outside of Sacramento at 4:30 a.m. Thursday – about 150 miles from her home.
Now police are hunting for two women in an SUV, who authorities say are armed and dangerous, after Papini indicated they played a role in her kidnapping, police say.
“I am ecstatic to report that Sherri Papini has been located and has been reunited with her husband and her family on this day of Thanksgiving,” Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said Thursday.
“I’m happy to say that Sherri is now safe and she is being treated at a hospital outside of Shasta County for non-life-threatening injuries.”
Papini, described by her husband Keith as a “supermom,” disappeared on Nov. 2 while jogging in a park in her tiny hometown of Mountain Gate. Authorities and her family said they immediately feared foul play because she failed to pick up her young daughter and son from daycare.
Keith took to national media to get out the word about his wife’s case, pleading on Good Morning America, “please bring her back.”
A passing motorist discovered Papini bound on the side of a rural road near the tiny town of Yolo, about 25 miles northeast of Sacramento – and a two hour drive from the place she vanished, Bosenko said.
“She was bound with restraints but was able to summon help by a passing motorist who then notified law enforcement. This was near County Road 17 near I-5,” he said.
Bosenko also said that investigators are looking for a dark-colored SUV driven by two armed Hispanic women.
“We do not have any further description on the SUV or with the Hispanic females, that is information we got directly from Ms. Papini. These Hispanic females are armed, considered dangerous and they have a handgun, at least a handgun with them,” Bosenko said.
A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the abductors.
“We have remained devoted to this case and will not rest until Sherri’s captor or captors are identified and brought to justice. We are continuing to follow investigative leads and this is a critical and active, ongoing investigation,” Bosenko continued, adding, “We are confident that with the public’s help we will make an arrest in this case.”
The mother had been last seen at around 2 p.m. on Old Oregon Trail and Sunrise Drive on Nov. 2 near Redding, a rural town in the northern part of the state.
Keith reported his wife missing that evening after he returned home to find neither Papini nor their two children, who Papini usually picks up from day care. (The children were at daycare, having not been picked up.)
Keith told Good Morning America after her disappearance: “She could drop her phone but she would never in a million years not pick up our children on the time that she normally would have.”