California mom who vanished while jogging found alive, was abducted, police say

Raw video: Authorities, volunteers search for missing mother of two who was last seen jogging


A California woman who was reported missing earlier this month was found safe early Thursday after flagging down a motorist on Interstate 5 nearly 150 miles away from her home, officials said.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s office said Sherri Papini, 34, was located Thursday, 22 days after she was reported missing in the town of Mountain Gate, California when she went for a run in the afternoon and never came home. 

"We are very ecstatic to report that Sherri Papini has been located and has been reunited with husband and family on this day of Thanksgiving," Sheriff Tom Bosenko said at a news conference.


Bosenko said Papini was released early Thursday by "her captor or captors" on a rural road in Yolo County, about 150 miles away from her home. She then was able to flag down a motorist on interstate nearby, Fox 40 reported. 

Papini was found "bound with restraints," according to Bosenko, but was able to get help from a passing motorist. 

Authorities are looking for "a dark-colored SUV with two Hispanic females armed with a handgun," according to the sheriff. 

"I am happy to say that Sherri is now safe and that she has been treated at an area hospital outside of Shasta County for non-life-threatening injuries," Bosenko said. He did not specify the nature of her injuries, but said she was treated at a hospital in Sacramento and reunited with her family. 

The mother of two is being interviewed by detectives from the Major Crimes Unit of the sheriff’s office.

“Detectives will not rest until her captor or captors are identified and brought to justice,” the sheriff said.

Papini was last seen going for a jog on Nov. 2. Her husband reported her missing when he came home from work and discovered that she hadn’t picked up their two children, ages 2 and 4, from daycare.

Keith Papini told officers that she had found her phone while investigators said they spotted her earbuds along with strands of her hair. However, other clues were scarce.

Soon after her disappearance, investigators said Keith Papini had “no involvement” with his wife’s disappearance after passing a polygraph test.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.