A chain around her waist and one hand, waving a paper bag and screaming out for help, Sherri Papini finally was brought home. According to her husband, she suffered beatings, burning, and branding while she was in captivity of two Hispanic woman and was abducted at gunpoint by these two women in the middle of the day.
It seems that Mrs. Papini remembers nothing of the her days in captivity and can only give a vague description of the two women because either she had her head covered or they had their faces covered "most of the time."
There are many people out there who think this whole abduction claim is a hoax. Her husband furiously attacked these people in his statement:
Rumors, assumptions, lies, and hate have been both exhausting and disgusting. Those people should be ashamed of their malicious, sub human behavior. We are not going to allow those people to take away our spirit, love, or rejoice in our girl found alive and home where she belongs. I understand people want the story, pictures, proof that this was not some sort of hoax, plan to gain money, or some fabricated race war. I do not see a purpose in addressing each preposterous lie. Instead, may I give you a glimpse of the mixture of horror and elation that was my experience of reuniting with the love of my life and mother of our children.
I certainly can understand his feelings; no one likes hurtful and hateful stuff said on the Internet about a loved one. But, what is interesting is what he didn't say in his first statement to the press. While he says he will not address preposterous lies, he never says people are wrong about Sherri not being abducted. Furthermore, in the remainder of his statement, he calls what happened "a tragedy" - not a crime - and he expresses no anger toward any kidnappers of his wife who are supposed to have tortured and starved her (and, perhaps, raped her, humiliated her, and terrified her). He shows no anger at the criminals who took the mother of his children away and almost took her life. He is working very hard to convince the public of the kind of person she is and how many injuries she has but he leaves out any discussion of finding the kidnappers and getting justice for what they put his wife and family through.
As to Sherri Papini's statements to the police, we know of little. The police have said she is having a problem remembering anything except now a partial description - voice, eyebrows and hair of the two women. I find it odd she has no description of the missing time. Although, yes, sometimes PTSD will cause victims of horrendous crimes to block things out, it is also often part of fake kidnappings to have the reporter (said victim) to be missing details because she actually has none to share of any real abduction and captivity. This is not necessarily the case here, but it is something that has to be considered when analyzing this case.
The vague description of the two women is also odd and is attributed to them being sometimes masked and sometimes the victim being masked. If this is a true statement from the police, it makes little sense because that means some of the time their faces were able to be seen by the purported victim. Did the women both have bandanas on when they pointed the gun at Sherri and pull her into the vehicle? When they had her in captivity for three weeks, were they inconsistant about whether they could chance her seeing them or not? This is something that will be explored more carefully by the police.
Now, to the type of crime this could be. Some are saying it is connected with sex trafficking, that it has all the hallmarks of this (especially promoted by the Papini private investigator). I see no sign of this at all. There is a myth going around these days that healthy and happy family women are being grabbed off the street and forced into the prositution, never to be seen again. This is not true in this country. Sex trafficking, as people think of it, is prevalent in poor countries, where young women are indeed kidnapped and forced into brothels. There is a limited version of this crime in this country within certain communities of (usually) illegal aliens, especially those being brought in by certain criminal rings.
However, neither sex traffickers or pimps kidnap thirty-four-year-old middle class women jogging down the road. They don't even kidnap sixteen or eighteen-year-old middle class girls jogging down the road. They don't even kidnap poor girls jogging down the road. Girls and women who are out jogging and go missing are almost always taken by serial predators. Sex traffickers and pimps can just get all the young, blonde girls (and all other sorts) just by honing in on runaways, drug users, and girls already in the prostitution business. Getting ahold of these girls is easy and doesn't cause a major police investigation to ensue and the photo of the missing girl or woman to be splattered all over the news and Internet.
Furthermore, you don't beat the face of the girl you want to make money off of and cut off her pretty hair. Yes, a pimp may do that if his girl gets out of control and he loses his temper, but messing up the merchandise cuts into profits.
And, thirty-four is "old" in terms of prositution. Sherri Papini is a good looking thirty-four-year old but a woman approaching middle age; she hardly is the top choice for men seeking sex for money.
So, no, I doubt if Sherri Papini was kidnapped into the sex trade. All I can think of for such a strange crime is a gang initiation, a kidnap for ransom gone bad, a hate crime, or some personal retaliation. None of these seems to make a lot of sense, but this is what the police should be looking at if they believe her story of being kidnapped.
And if Sherri Papini wasn't kidnapped? What could have happened? Good question. Much depends on what the evidence is. Right now we have the husband claiming she had severe bruising, a broken nose, severe burns, a branding, and that she was severely emaciated from starvation. Yet, she did not even remain in the hospital overnight. I find this very odd if she was as severely battered as has been claimed. One would think she would have at least been observed overnight or even for forty-eight hours. The husband also claimed his wife had screamed until her throat bled, something that does not actually occur, medically speaking. However, maybe the information is wrong that we are getting. The level of her injuries is something the police have to consider in deciding if these were self-inflicted or caused by others. It would not be the first time a woman who has Munchausen's Syndrome (a version of personality disorder in which a person - usually a female) - claims to be ill or harmed or raped or stalked in order to gain attention and sometimes this even means the person will cause injuries to herself to support her claim. The partner of such a individual is often, for want of a better word, a dolt, someone who will buy into what this person says because it is in his best interest and makes life easier for him. We often find such is true of spouses of women who kill their babies one after the other; the partner just kind of shrugs and says she is a good mother, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.
Another interesting part of this alleged crime is two females being the perpetrators. Two is a number that says I had to comply because it was a two on one fight and they could keep me from escaping. Secondly, by having women be the perpetrators, the victim can return home without having been raped or having to be not found raped which would be odd if she were taken by males.
So, where does this leave the crime? The police have to wonder about the peculiarity of the crime, the odd post Sherri Papini made years ago about physically fighting with Latinas, connections she and her husband have to a group focused on protecting onself from kidnapping, about the husband spending more time glorifying his wife to the public than focused on finding the people that did this horrible thing to his beautiful wife:
“And again, just another sign of how my wife is, she’s so wonderful. She’s saying, ‘Well, maybe people aren’t stopping because I have a chain that looks like I broke out of prison’ so she tried to tuck in her chain under her clothes.”
The police have to wonder why he went public with all these details of his wife's kidnapping and injuries when such disclosure would impede the investigation and why he would say to his son, "I found Mommy," when he did no such thing at all.
Something is very odd about this crime and these people. But, because I am not on the inside of the police investigation it may be that they have much more information about Sherri's statements, behaviors, and injuries and likewise of other evidence. This may eventually become known and prove whether Sherri Papini was the victim of a frightening and vicious crime, perhaps, a kind of crime that will become more popular in this country in the future, or the public is a victim of a hoax, another fake kidnapping designed to get attention or make money or make a political point.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
December 2, 2016