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Sherri Papini, who faked her own kidnapping, is making news again

Sherri Papini, who faked her own kidnapping, is making news again
Sherri Papini, who faked her own kidnapping, is making news again

With a docuseries about Sherri Papini airing Thursday, a famous rapper putting her name to music, a new segment about her on Good Morning America and a new story about her in the national magazine, it looks like the world-famous kidnapping hoaxer from Redding is back in the news and national consciousness in a way not seen since she was sent to prison two years ago.

Papini even appeared in Shasta County Superior Court last week with her ex-husband, Keith Papini, in an effort to work with a judge to give her more time to visit her two children.

The streaming service Hulu plans to release a three-part series about Redding mother Sherri Papini, who staged her own kidnapping in 2016 and was ultimately sent to prison for lying to the FBI about the crime and defrauding government agencies with more than $300,000. .

Hulu plans to air the three-part documentary series “The Perfect Wife: The Mysterious Disappearance of Sherri Papini” starting Thursday.

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In November 2016, Papini pretended to have been kidnapped herself, but police eventually caught on to her ruse. She was eventually sent to prison for lying to the FBI about the crime and defrauding the federal government, the state of California, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and others of more than $300,000.

On Monday, Vanity Fair magazine published a story about the new series, revisiting the six-year saga that led to her arrest for faking her kidnapping and lying about it to the FBI and other government officials so she could receive benefits .

For those who have somehow never heard of Papini, she reportedly went missing on November 2, 2016 while out jogging near her home north of Redding.

Her disappearance sparked a search that confused much of Redding, the police and the media, while the case attracted worldwide attention.

She was found 22 days later on Thanksgiving Day, tied up along a rural road near Interstate 5 in Woodland, north of Sacramento, and told police she had been kidnapped by two Hispanic women. She also claimed that she was beaten and branded by her captors.

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But it all unfolded as a hoax that investigators uncovered when they learned that during the time she claimed she was being held against her will, she was actually staying with an ex-boyfriend at a home in Orange County.

In a press release about the upcoming series premiere, Hulu claims to have new material on a news story that has been told thousands of times by media outlets around the world.

The seemingly idyllic family life of Keith (her husband) and Sherri Papini is disrupted when Sherri disappears from their Northern California neighborhood, sparking a frenzied search that becomes news around the world. With unprecedented access to Sherri’s family and friends – as well as the investigators who fought for six years to solve the mystery of her disappearance – this limited documentary series intimately explores the breathtaking revelations of a relationship that was not what it seemed,” said Hulu on the documentary.

That new “new material” includes interviews with Keith Papini, who talks about how the ordeal affected him and his family. Papini sat down again for an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America in a piece that aired Monday. In the interview, Matt Gutman asked Papini why he agreed to work with the Hulu show’s producers.

Keith Papini said when he saw his wife in the hospital with burns and bruises, he couldn’t help but believe she had been kidnapped and abused. But, he said, it was painful to learn the truth — that she had made it all up.

“I think she wanted me to be her knight in shining armor and run to her and I think she wanted to plan a fake kidnapping. But in her version, I had to find her,” Keith Papini said on Good Morning America.

He said it will be difficult to emerge from the shadow of the fake kidnapping and its fallout.

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“I think it will always be there. We want to move past it. I want to give my children a great childhood, but I think it will always be there,” he said.

Even rapper Eminem’s new song, “Houdini,” contains a line about Papini. Much of the song plays over a sample of the Steve Miller Band’s 1982 hit “Abracadabra.” Just over four minutes into the song he refers to Papini.

“What you thought you saw (What?)…is not what you saw (No)…Cause you’ll never see me fall asleep…and see that the kidnapping never happened… Like Sherri Papini, Harry Houdini… disappear into thin air as I leave like….”

Neither Keith nor Sherri Papini could be reached for comment for this story.

Reporter Damon Arthur welcomes story tips at 530-338-8834, by email at [email protected] and on Twitter at @damonarthur_RS. Help local journalism thrive by subscribing today!