Kidnappings are not altogether common in America. Most do not involve cliche strangers, but people close to the kidnapped person, or family. So when Sherri Papini went missing on November 2nd, everyone was a suspect.
Yet the husband and family were quickly cleared. And the search stretched on for three long weeks. Sherri escaped her confinement on Thanksgiving day. So why are so many pointing fingers and calling her abduction a hoax?
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The answer is complicated and may actually be impossible to pin down. One thing is for certain–after three weeks of brutal confinement, Sherri Papini and her family are now facing an onslaught of doubt and ridicule from people on the web.
Some perspective may help shed light on the doubters’ motives. Keith Papini, the husband in this case, is the one who discovered his wife had not returned from her morning run on the 2nd. He tracked her phone, and found it along with her headphones, and some hair that appeared to have been pulled from his wife’s head.
All of this put him squarely in the sights of the detectives. Yet he was cooperative and persistent.
This Sherri Papini thing is suspicious
— Caden V (@ckrramirez3) November 26, 2016
Thanksgiving morning, 150 miles from where she’d been abducted, Sherri was found. Alive. While details are still scarce, witnesses reported that she was bound, and badly beaten. She was able to flag down a motorist who got her to a phone and to a hospital.
Sherri was able to tell authorities she’d been held by two Hispanic women driving a dark-colored SUV. They were armed.
If you don't have the common sense ability to see that the whole #SherriPapini case was staged then you need to unfollow me right now…
— The Trash Talker (@fantasybillions) November 25, 2016
For a kidnapping victim to survive captivity for such a length of time is rare. For a woman to have been kidnapped by two other women is even more rare. And this alone is enough to raise suspicion.
Yet police have looked into Sherri’s first marriage, her divorce, and have combed her computer activity. They’ve found nothing unusual. The attack appears to have been random.
I think there's a good chance the Sherri Papini case is a hoax https://t.co/zfAgiQ2sqx
— Gershwin Forever (@GershwinForever) November 25, 2016
“We currently have no reason to disbelieve Sherri Papini’s story,” Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said. “She was assaulted and had injuries which she was treated for.”
“We have remained devoted to this case and will not rest until Sherri’s captor or captors are identified and brought to justice. We are continuing to follow investigative leads and this is a critical, and active, and ongoing investigation.”
Papini’s abduction is hard to rationalize. The doubters who want there to be some ulterior motive behind the attack need some reassurance, psychologically, that there’s predictability and order in the universe. They want to believe they’re safe because nothing like this could ever happen to them, or to the people they love.
Sheriff Bosenko’s message is clear, if not clearly stated. Bad things happen to good people and you need to be prepared and vigilant. If her story is true, and there isn’t any reason to believe otherwise, Sherri Papini doesn’t deserve to be doubted or ridiculed.
That should help to put an end to any more internet discussion about whether the whole incident is a hoax. But it probably won’t.