Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko today shed more light on the Thanksgiving rescue of Sherri Papini after she was missing for three weeks.
A driver called 911 after finding Papini, of Mountain Gate, about 4:30 a.m. Thanksgiving on a road near Interstate 5 in Yolo County. She'd been missing since Nov. 2 and described her alleged abductors as two Hispanic women with a gun.
When asked to elaborate on scanner reports that Papini, 34, was found "chained to something," Bosenko noted that his agency has not phrased it that way.
"We weren't specific on how she was restrained," he said. "After being released, dropped off, however you want to refer to it, she walked to a nearby church, and then nobody was there, and then walked to I-5 near Road 17, where she flagged down a motorist."
While the same dispatch reports indicated she was "heavily battered," Bosenko also would not specify what kind of injuries Papini had. But he did confirm the type of injuries get someone "treated and released," as Papini was.
"When you say, 'treated and released' ... no different than if you went up to the ER for a sprained ankle, they treated you and released you. Now, if you had a compound fracture due to that bone being broken, then you'd probably be admitted, have to stay for a few days," Bosenko explained.
He also said his earlier use of the word "assault" to describe Papini's injuries was based on the "heavily battered" comment.
"We're not providing the details, other than they were non-life threatening and that she was treated and released," he said of the injuries.
Bosenko said Papini's description of her alleged captors was "very limited," and he would not say whether she had seen them or may have been blindfolded.
"At the time, again, she gave us very limited information of the suspects, and part of that was based on her trauma, emotional trauma," he said, noting that "sometimes the mind can block off traumatic events from recollection."
Bosenko said people should always be cautious when in public and preferably exercise in pairs or groups, but they should also remember that "abduction, whether it be targeted or random, is rare."
What else is either unknown or not being released:
- Whether Papini was sexually assaulted
- Whether Papini was wearing the same clothing she had on when she went missing
Next steps in the investigation:
Investigators had "somewhat lengthy of an interview" with Papini today, Bosenko said, though the details of that interview were not immediately available.
He said he didn't know whether they'll interview her again.
"We don't have information if this was a targeted abduction or if it was a random act," Bosenko said.
His investigators "worked through the Thanksgiving holiday, including the weekend" to find the ones allegedly responsible for Papini's disappearance, Bosenko said.
That includes continued reviews of surveillance footage and cellular tower information, he said.
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