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Sherri Papini, the California mum who sparked a huge police search in 2016 when she faked her own kidnapping, has been served divorce papers by her husband just days after she admitted staging the hoax.
Papini said she was “deeply ashamed” of what she had done after being charged with mail fraud and making false statements to an FBI agent and now faces a jail term of up to 25 years if convicted.
Prosecutors allege she fraudulently obtained $30,000 (£23,300) from California's victim compensation board.
“I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done,” she said.
During the three weeks that his wife was missing Keith Papini made repeated appeals for information leading her recovery and was himself investigated by police.
Papini had disappeared while she was out jogging in November 2016. After she had been missing for some time her husband used the Find My Phone function to locate her iPhone and headphones which were found dumped by a roadside with some of Papini’s blog hair tangled in them.
A later report from FBI Special Agent Courtney Lantto noted: “Husband thought the cellphone had been placed, which he described as weird."
When Papini’s phone was examined, police found that two men’s the numbers were in her contacts under disguised names.
After Papini’s deception came to light it was revealed that she had been staying with ex-boyfriend, James Reyes during the period she was missing.
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The bizarre “abduction” came to an end on November 24, 2016. Responding to reports of a distressed woman running along a major road, police found Papini.
“Papini had a chain around her waist that one arm was bound to, with additional bindings around her other wrist and each ankle,” Special Agent Lantto wrote.
“Papini was transported to Woodland Hospital where she underwent several physical examinations. She appeared to have lost a considerable amount of weight, and her long blonde hair had been cut much shorter.
“Papini’s nose was swollen, she had bruises on her face, rashes on her left arm and left upper inner thigh, as well as other parts of her body, ligature marks on her wrists and ankles, burns on her left forearm and bruising on her pelvis and the fronts of both legs.”
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“She had been branded on her right shoulder,” the FBI report said, although the exact meaning of the brand, which appeared to be part of a Bible verse, was never explained.
Papini told police that she had been snatched by two Mexican women, who wore masks the whole tike she was held captive. Illustrations drawn by a police sketch arises were circulated nationwide in a bid to capture the “kidnappers”.
She alleged that she had been kidnapped to order by human traffickers who planned to sell her as a sex slave to an unknown man.
But her story unravelled when the FBI questioned her, and when DNA found on Papini’s clothes turned out to be a match for her ex-boyfriend.
Reyes co-operated with police, describing how Papini had told him she was being abused by her husband, and persuaded him to help her brand the “confusing Bible passage” inter her arm.
When she returned to the family home in Redding, California, Papini’s husband believe the story continued to stick by her even as her claims were proven false by investigators.
But Papini’s confession seems to have been the final straw for Keith Papini, and he filed to end their marriage on Wednesday (April 20), reportedly applying to speed up the divorce process with a second filing made yesterday (Friday, April 22).
The couple married in 2009 and have two children, Tyler, eight, and Violet, 10.
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