|Halloween 2016 - Check out those Bandanas!|
After I finished pointing out some strange behaviors of Keith Papini on The Today Show, the hosts pointed out to the audience that Mr. Papini had passed a polygraph and was not considered a suspect by the police department. I have received emails and comments as to why I would have any suspicions concerning Keith Papini in the strange alleged abduction of his wife, Sherri Papini, since he passed the polygraph and the police said early on he was not a suspect. So, let me explain my reasons for continued concern over Mr. Papini's involvement in this crime or possible knowledge of it and how the polygraph and suspect status play into this.
Keith Papini may or may not have passed a polygraph. The police may be telling us the truth or they may not be telling us the truth. They could have cleared him or they could be trying to give him enough rope to hang himself.
I will put forth each kind of possible crime this case could be and explain the polygraph and suspect status for each.
1) Sherri Papini was kidnapped for some bizarre reason - gang initiation, kidnapping for ransom gone bad, kidnapping for kicks, kidnapping for sex trade.
In this case, Keith Papini could indeed pass the polygraph because he would have had nothing to do with the crime. The police finding no connection to him with Sherri's disappearance and him having an alibi, clear him of the crime.
I would have no problem with this except for the description of the crime and Keith Papini's behaviors.
2) Sherri Papini was kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel.
In this case, the police would be heavily investigating whether the Papinis were involved in the drug trade, if they had way too much money for their lifestyle. Keith Papini could have passed a polygraph in that he may not, at that time, exactly known what happened to his wife. The police could clear him of involvement because he would also have been a victim of the crime.
Of all the kidnapping scenarios, this one would make the most sense if the message was from the cartel to Keith, if the "anonymous donor" was Keith himself trying to make a payoff for money owed or whatever. The police would be analyzing whether the lifestyle the Papinis lived was far above the salary of a Best Buy employee and a stay-at-home mom and whatever help they got from relatives. Keith's bizarre behavior could be that he sort of had a clue what happened to his wife but doesn't want to admit why; his interest in going public is to get rid of the hoax accusations but not push for arrest of the suspects because that would lead back to the motive for the crime which would include his own involvement in the drug trade.
3) This was a hoax set up by the Papinis.
In this case, they would be seeking money, notoriety, or both. The police would be investigating their financial status and desire for media attention. They would be trying to figure out if they did this alone or had a third party involved. They would be analyzing the type of injuries to Sherri Papini to determine if these were of the sort to convince a kidnapping occurred, but not so serious as to cause permanent injury. Keith Papini would either have managed to pass the polygraph test (which can be done) and convinced the police he was not involved in any way or he could have failed the test and the police are not telling the public the truth and are watching him closely.
Keith Papini's behaviors when he found his wife missing - hurrying to insist she was kidnapped to the police - and his very aggressive campaign in the media to prove that his wife was really injured and kidnapped while showing no interest in finding and punishing her captors does support the possibility of this scenario.
4) This was a hoax set up by Sherri Papini.
Of all the choices, actually this is the most credible (although this doesn't mean this is what happened). If Sherri Papini had threatened her husband with running off or had prior odd behaviors that could lead him to think she could be setting up a hoax (or even him), he might well have had his own peculiar behaviors when he found her gone, immediately searching for her location, telling the police she was kidnapped. He might pass a polygraph because the questions might be those involving his own connection to the crime which he would not have. The police might eliminate him as a suspect because he truly did not do anything to Sherri or plan anything with her.
Certain pieces of evidence support this motive for this crime as a hoax. There is evidence from Sherri Papini's past writings that indicate she may be an attention seeker. Women who have Munchausen's Syndrome (a version of psychopathy) may suffer from anorexia and/or bulimia to stay very thin, they may be enamored by photos of themselves, they may fake illnesses to get attention or claim they were rape or stalked when they were not. They may even stage their own abductions to get attention from their loved ones or the media. Sometimes we see odd things done by the "victim" prior to the crime that might have helped in development of the crime description; we have a post which certainly appears to have been written by Sherri Papini years ago in which she claims to have been assaulted by Latina women and having broken one of their noses in the fight. On Halloween night, just two days before the alleged abduction, she and her husband and kids are dressed as cowboys and cowgirls complete with bandanas for their faces (see photo above). Two days later, Sherrie is abducted by two Latina women wearing bandanas and her nose is supposedly broken. Coincidence or fabrication?
The actual crime itself supports a fake abduction staged by the "victim" herself. She is abducted by women which eliminates the problem of sexual assault. All the injuries are minor and cosmetic in that there appears to be no real permanent damage. The claim of branding we do not know what it really was - a brand like a tattoo or something like a hot coat hanger - we do not know where on her body it was (clearly not her face) and how small it was or how repairable it is. It seems these injuries to her body could well have been self-inflicted.
Another very odd thing about this crime is the when she was found she had a chain around her waist and one hand bound. The other hand was free, supposedly only bound by something easy to cut off in the vehicle. What this says to me is that this means that Sherri Papini had one hand free to lock the other hand to the chain.
The best evidence that may support this possible motive for Sherri Papini's disappearance is in her husband's denial of a hoax. Everything he has stated in television interviews is a continual praise of his wife and how perfect and wonderful she is. Why does he feel such a strong need to convince the world of this? Or is he trying to convince himself as well? Is his lack of interest in the alleged abudctors so minimal because he knows there are none? Is his focus on bringing his wife home, being reunited, having a happy family again, not having to raise the children alone all about his fear that his wife will be discovered to be behind this and end up in jail? Is he afraid of discovering this himself because that would be a big hurdle to deal with in their relationship? Does he just want to consider this something they will never forget but will make their marriage stronger? Is this why he can show mixed emotions when discussing his wife's and his ordeal? Because it WAS an ordeal and IS something that they have to get through? Is this why he called what happened a tragedy rather than a crime?
This bizarre case has certainly captured the attention of the public because it IS very unusual and because Keith Papini decided he needed to defend his wife in a very national forum. What we will learn in days to come will certainly be fascinating, to say the least.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
December 5, 2016