REDDING, Calif. (CBS) — A northern California mother of two who vanished nearly a month ago is safe after being found bound alongside an interstate, Shasta County sheriff’s officials reported Thursday.
Sherri Papini, 34, disappeared Nov. 2 after leaving home to jog, her family said. Her cellphone and headphones were found near the site where she was last seen. Her husband reported her missing when she didn’t arrive to pick up their two young children from day care.
Police and dozens of volunteers previously searched an area around Mountain Gate, an unincorporated community near Redding.
Shasta County sheriff Tom Bosenko said investigators now believe Papini was abducted. Bosenko said she was released by her captor or captors early on Thanksgiving Day along I-5 in northern Yolo County. Allegedly bound with restraints, she flagged down a passing driver for help.
Papini was freed from her restraints and taken to a local hospital where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released, Bosenko said
Bosenko said investigators have not located a suspect or suspects. He said they’re searching for a dark colored SUV with two Hispanic females armed with a handgun. He said he didn’t know a possible motive or whether the abduction was targeted or random.
Papini and her husband Keith have been reunited. Papini’s husband is “overjoyed” that his wife is safe, Bosenko said. He had previously been cleared as as suspect after taking a lie-detector test.
Sheriff’s officials said she’s being interviewed by detectives from the major crimes unit. The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office is assisting in the investigation.
“We were all hopeful to have Ms. Papini recovered and brought home safely,” Bosenko said. “That did work out…we had not given up hope.”
Family members previously said they believed Papini was abducted. They called her a “super mom” who would never abandon her family.