Sherri Papini’s husband files for divorce after she admits her kidnapping was faked

After his wife admitted to faking her own kidnapping, Sherri Papini’s husband filed for divorce this week in Shasta County.

It is the latest development in the high-profile case of the Northern California mom whose disappearance five years ago prompted a nationwide search. But Papini formally admitted in federal court on Monday that she faked the whole scheme.

Papini, 39, is set to be sentenced in July for lying to investigators and taking over $30,000 from a state assistance fund for kidnapping victims.

Papini went missing in November of 2016 after going out for an afternoon run in her quiet Redding neighborhood. Her husband, Keith Papini, frantically called 911 when he found his wife’s phone down the street from their home, with strands of her blond hair still tangled in the earbuds.

But Sherri Papini was not kidnapped at gunpoint, as she later told authorities, according to federal prosecutors. Instead, she called an ex-boyfriend to pick her up and the two spent the next 22 days at his apartment in Orange County while her family, authorities and volunteers searched for the missing mother of two.

Last month, investigators filed criminal charges against Sherri Papini. She has since pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud for receiving money from the victims compensation fund and one count of making false statements to investigators.

On Wednesday, Keith Papini filed for divorce in Shasta County Superior Court, according to court records. The filing was first reported by the Sacramento Bee.

After Sherri Papini returned home on Thanksgiving Day in 2016, investigators continued to pursue leads into her purported kidnapping. She told authorities that “two Hispanic women had abducted her at gunpoint,” according to court records. She said they beat her before ultimately releasing her on the side of the road in Yolo County, nearly 100 miles away from her home.

Her return to Redding was followed by intense debate about the possibility that she faked the kidnapping. In response, Keith Papini issued a statement condemning those who doubted his wife’s account.

“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,” he wrote. “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.”

Keith Papini could not immediately reached for comment for this article.

In the intervening years, Sherri Papini provided investigators more details about her supposed kidnappers. She gave vivid details of the women’s appearances, their clothing and the type of material they wore to conceal their faces, which were all made up.

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