Sherri Papini: California woman who lied about being kidnapped called a 'narcissist' by Sheriff

Sherri Papini: California woman who lied about being kidnapped called a 'narcissist' by Sheriff
Sherri Papini has been lambasted by Shasta County Sheriff Michael L Johnson (Facebook/ Shasta County, Sheriff's Office)

A California woman who staged her own kidnapping has now been blasted by the police officer in charge of the case, who called her a “narcissist” and not worthy of any sympathy. Sherri Papini had earlier claimed that she was abducted by two armed Hispanic women while she was jogging in Redding, California on November 2, 2016. She had returned home 22 days later on Thanksgiving Day that year.

However, later it was found out that everything Papini said was a lie and she was actually living with her ex-boyfriend, James Reyes, during that time. To make her lie believable, she had also hurt herself. Last month, the 39-year-old was arrested after a six-year-long probe and now reportedly faces mail fraud charges related to the reimbursement requests that carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a maximum five-year sentence for lying to a federal officer.


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After her arrest, the mother-of-two released a statement on Tuesday, April 12, apologizing for her deeds as she agreed to plead guilty to fraud and lying to the FBI about the kidnapping. In the statement, she said, “I am deeply ashamed of myself for my behavior and so very 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.” She also added: “I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done.” 

But Shasta County Sheriff Michael L Johnson, who worked on her case for more than half a decade, has slammed her and said: “She's only sorry because she got caught. The bottom line is, this case was about some very strong narcissistic behavior, along with deception, deceit and selfishness, so I have a very hard time believing she's sorry.”

Johnson continued: “She had several opportunities to come clean during the various phases of this investigation and she never did it. Now all of a sudden we're supposed to believe she's remorseful for what she did? Well, I just don't believe that,” before mentioning, “I'm really struggling to have any compassion or sympathy for her at all which is what a plea deal usually goes towards. I'm frustrated with that part because I'd like her to see her held accountable, and when you strike a plea deal you usually receive much less of a sentence.”

The sheriff added: “She's only sorry now because she's caught and she was never sorry, before. Now that she's facing charges and facing prison now all of a sudden she's sorry? I don't buy that. And we'll see if the judge buys it or not when it comes to sentencing.”

Besides, in March, Attorney for the Eastern District of California Phillip A Talbert also called out Papini, who wasted authorities' time for years. Talbert said in a statement: “When a young mother went missing in broad daylight, a community was filled with fear and concern. Shasta County Sheriff's Office immediately began investigating, calling on the assistance of the FBI. Countless hours were spent following leads, all in an effort to bring this woman back to her family.”

He added: “Three weeks later, she was found 146 miles south of where she disappeared, and the focus went from trying to find her to trying to find her abductors. Ultimately, the investigation revealed that there was no kidnapping and that time and resources that could have been used to investigate actual crime, protect the community, and provide resources to victims were wasted based on the defendant's conduct.”

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