A woman who ‘vanished’ for three weeks while out on a run has pleaded guilty to faking her own abduction.
Sherri Papini’s admission brings an end to a six-year-long order, which began on November 2, 2016, when she disappeared while out jogging.
Her husband Keith Papini reported her missing in her hometown of Redding, California, after the 39-year-old failed to pick their children up from the nursery.
The Mirror reports that the mum then mysteriously showed up 22 days later on Thanksgiving Day at the side of a road 120 miles away.
She had bruises all over her body and was shackled, with a number of reports suggesting that she had been branded by her alleged captors.
She claimed to have been abducted and held captive by two gun-wielding Hispanic women for unknown reasons.
Earlier this year prosecutors claimed that she injured the injuries on herself to substantiate her bogus claims.
After a six year investigation, authorities announced that Papini had not been kidnapped, but was staying with her ex-boyfriend James Reyes at the time she went missing.
On Monday she was asked by a judge whether she had been kidnapped, to which she answered “no, your honor,” The Sacramento Bee reports.
“Did you lie to government agents when you told them you were kidnapped?” US District Judge William B Shubb asked.
“Yes, your honour,” she replied.
Papini pleaded guilty to one count each of mail fraud and lying to a federal officer.
She did not offer any explanation as to why she’d claimed two “Hispanic women” had kidnapped her at gunpoint and chained her to a pole for three weeks while depriving her of food.
Investigators concluded she injured the injuries on herself or had her ex-boyfriend do it for her.
Following the hearing yesterday she said in a statement: “I am deeply ashamed of myself for my behavior and so sorry for the pain I’ve caused my family, my friends, all the good people who needlessly suffered because of my story and those who worked so hard to try to help me.
“I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done.”
The mum-of-two is scheduled to be sentenced on 11 July after prosecutors agreed to recommend a maximum of 14 months in prison.
She has agreed to pay restitution of more than £231,000 ($300,000), which will include the cost of the search for her.
After Papini was found at the side of the road and returned home in 2016, she visited the family of Tera Smith.
The teenager had gone missing in 1998 after running along the same trail where Papini said she had been abducted.
Last month, prosecutors announced that DNA found on her trousers and underwear led to the unraveling of the California woman’s alleged kidnapping claims.
Court charging documents showed that the DNA did not belong to her female “abductors” or her husband.
They eventually linked to the sample to Papini’s ex-boyfriend.
The FBI affidavit states that when police interviewed the ex-boyfriend in August 2020 he admitted helping Papini “run away” after she claimed “her husband was beating and raping her, and she was trying to escape.”
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