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Sheriff: Missing mom found alive and bound was emotional, "elated to be free"

Missing Calif. mom found
Missing Calif. mother found alive after three weeks 02:14

SAN FRANCISCO --  A Northern California sheriff says a woman missing for three weeks was “very emotional” after a passing driver found her bound on the side of a rural road.

In an interview Friday on “Good Morning America,” Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said authorities are looking for two women armed with a handgun they believe kidnapped 34-year-old Sherri Papini on Nov. 2 after she left for a jog.

Sherri Papini disappeared on Nov. 2, 2016, and has been reunited with her husband, Shasta County sheriff’s officials said on Nov. 24, 2016.
Sherri Papini disappeared on Nov. 2, 2016, and has been reunited with her husband, Shasta County sheriff’s officials said on Nov. 24, 2016.

Bosenko said the suspect descriptions were based off of “limited information” given to them so far by Papini. Investigators were expected to interview her to elicit more information in coming days.

Bosenko said Papini was released Thanksgiving morning about 150 miles south of where she disappeared near Redding. Bosenko said Papini was found bound by restraints near Interstate 5 but was able to flag down a driver after her captors dropped her off, driving a dark SUV.

“It’s been three weeks since her disappearance and then to find her, and released by her captors I think is very rare,” Bosenko said.

Bosenko said the woman was able to speak with her husband via cellphone before he drove down to meet her. The mother of two was treated for unspecified non-life-threatening injuries and released from a hospital.

“She was very emotional to be released and to her hear husband’s voice, and then a few hours later to be re-united with him,” Bosenko said.

Sherri Papini’s husband Keith had previously been cleared as a suspect after he took a lie detector test, officials have said. He reported his wife missing after she didn’t show up to pick their two children up from day care. Her cellphone and headphones were found near where she was last seen. Family had feared an abduction and described Papini as a “super mom” who would never abandon her children.

Before she was found, Keith Papini said he was “getting very angry and frustrated” and “scared for my wife.” He made several emotional pleas in the media for her safe return. Bosenko said the man was “overjoyed” she is now safe.

Police had received more than 400 tips in the case, but Papini’s release was not the result of a $100,000 reward that was offered, Bosenko said.

Investigators have said they don’t know a possible motive or whether the abduction was targeted or random. It’s also not clear where Papini may have been held captive or how she was restrained.

Bosenko said at a news conference Thursday investigators “had not given up hope.” Bosenko said Papini was “quite upset but elated to be free.”

Phone numbers for Papini and some of her family rang through Friday. Shasta County sheriff’s official’s didn’t respond to phone calls and emails from CBS News’ Crimesider.

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