Sherri Papini’s family is firing back at news reports this week that revealed her relatives previously called law enforcement about her, years before her alleged 2016 abduction in California.
In a statement to ABC News, Papini’s family called the Sacramento Bee, which originally reported the story on Thursday, “shameful.”
“Sherri Papini and her family are the very recent victims of an extremely violent crime that has painfully and dramatically changed the course of their lives forever,” reads the statement, which was reportedly released by family spokeswoman Nicole Wool.
“It is shameful that a media outlet would intentionally exploit Sherri and Keith Papini and their young children’s trauma for the sole purpose of clickbait and selling papers.”
“This newspaper’s decision to aggressively seek out and publish unsubstantiated online activity and distort phone conversations from 16 years ago is victim-blaming at its most egregious,” the statement continues. “It is our hope that the media will honor their privacy as they work through this difficult time.”
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In December 2003, Papini’s mother, Loretta Graeff, told authorities that Papini was allegedly “harming herself and blaming the injuries on [her],” according to a copy of the incident report from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office in California.
Graeff was seeking advice on how to handle the situation, Shasta County sheriff’s Lt. Pat Kropholler told PEOPLE.
In other calls, Papini’s father and sister accused her, respectively, of vandalism and of kicking in a door in an alleged break-in attempt. Papini’s father also called the sheriff’s office in 2003 to claim that she had made an unauthorized withdrawal of money from his checking account.
Papini wasn’t charged with a crime in any of the incidents, according to authorities. Lt. Kropholler said the missing money may have been a mistake or a misunderstanding, because of a mix-up between cards — and that the funds were returned.
Papini’s family did not return multiple calls seeking comment on the newly released reports.
She vanished on Nov. 2. and reappeared more than three weeks later, on Thanksgiving morning. She told authorities she was abducted at gunpoint, while jogging, by two Hispanic women. She described one of the women as having long curly hair, thin eyebrows and pierced ears; and the other as older, with straight black hair and gray and thick eyebrows.
Lt. Kropholler said the previous calls her family made “really [don’t] have any bearing on her case.”
He said the investigation is still active. No arrests have been made, and no motive has been confirmed.
“There is no evidence here that shows this is a hoax or this didn’t occur,” Kropholler said.