Monday, December 5, 2016

Keith Papini and Passing the Polygraph

Halloween 2016 - Check out those Bandanas!

Note: When analyzing evidence, a criminal profiler or detectives makes note of what the totality of the evidence could mean and this helps determine investigative leads. A theory is NOT equal to proof and this is why analysis is to lead to more evidence which leads to more analysis and, hopefully, ends up with enough evidence to lock in what happened, establish probable cause, and allow for the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator. On the outside of an investigation, we know far less than the police; any analysis is based on public information. This does not mean an outside analysis cannot be right or that the police analysis is necessarily right, but we just need to understand that unless we have access to all the police reports and evidence, we can only base our understanding on what is publicly available at any point in time.

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

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Bizarre Case of Sherri Papini

Jogger, wife, and mother of two, 34-year-old Sherri Papini disappeared while out for her afternoon run on November 2, 2016, reappearing on Thanksgiving Day on the side of a road 150 miles from her home, in the wee hours of the morning.

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