Who Is the Mystery Michigan Man Sherri Papini Was Texting With in the Days Before Her Abduction?

Sherri Papini's mysterious disappearance remains unsolved nearly a year later

In the days after Sherri Papini vanished last November while out for a morning jog, police began searching for answers to what may have happened to the mom-of-two from Redding, California.

Last week, police disclosed that during their early investigation into her disappearance, they discovered that Papini, now 35, had been texting a male acquaintance from Detroit, Michigan just days before she went missing.

“The text messages went back several months to days before her disappearance,” Shasta County Sheriff Sgt. Brian Jackson tells PEOPLE. “It was a prior contact that she had years before. Somebody she met and kept in contact with. A male acquaintance she was talking with through texting.” Jackson would not specify whether or not their relationship was romantic.

Sherri Papini People Cover
The cover of PEOPLE magazine on Nov. 13, 2017.

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Jackson says the acquaintance had visited California — but not Redding — days before Papini went missing, adding that “there is no indication they met up.”

Jackson says investigators went to Michigan to speak to the acquaintance — and then ruled him out as having anything to do with the abduction.

Papini vanished on Nov. 2, 2016. Papini’s husband Keith said he came home and discovered his wife missing. He later found her phone with earbuds still attached and strands of blond hair near a local jogging trail.

Sherri Papini

She was found 22 days later on November 24, Thanksgiving Day, on the side of a rural Yolo County road — about 150 miles south of Redding. She was emaciated and weighing only 87 pounds, and she was bound at the waist by a chain to which her left wrist was tethered with a zip tie. Hose clamps were fixed to her ankles in what the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office later described as “pain compliance restraints.”

Keith Papini said his wife was covered in bruises — ranging from yellow to black — because of alleged repeated beatings. The bridge of her nose was broken and her long blond hair was chopped off. She also had been branded.

Papini said she was abducted at gunpoint and held captive by two armed Hispanic females.


Last week, authorities released sketches of the two women described by Papini and announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to their identification.

Police said Papini had both male and female DNA on her.

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