The cop who investigated the disappearance of California ‘super mom’ Sherri Papini has slammed her as a ‘deceitful selfish narcissist’ after she admitted she staged the whole thing.
Shasta County Sheriff Michael L. Johnson spent years investigating the 39-year-old mother-of-two’s mysterious vanishing after going out for a jog in Redding, California on November 2, 2016, only to miraculously reappear 22 days later on Thanksgiving Day.
Speaking to The Sun, Johnson gave her apology short shrift, insisting ‘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,’ Johnson said, ‘so I have a very hard time believing she’s sorry.
‘Now all of a sudden we’re supposed to believe she’s remorseful for what she did?’ he asked. ‘Well, I just don’t believe that.’
In a statement released by her lawyers on Tuesday, Papini admitted that the whole story was fabricated, adding that said she was ‘deeply ashamed’ of her actions and pledged to ‘work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done.’
She will please guilty on Monday.
Sheriff Michael L. Johnson of the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, who spent six years investigating Papini’s case
Sherri Papini walking to the Sacramento federal courthouse with attorney Willian Portanova, right, yesterday
Sherri Papini (wearing a gray hoodie) is seen after she was released from Sacramento County Main Jail in March
Sherri Papini (shown with her husband Keith and children Tyler and Violet before her abduction)
Sherri Papini with her husband Keith on their wedding day. The 23 days she claimed she was kidnapped she in fact spent with an ex-boyfriend, James Reyes
A ‘missing’ sign for Sherri Papini, near the location where the mom of two was believed to have gone missing while on an afternoon jog. Papini, whose disappearance and mysterious reappearance set off a frantic three-week search more than six years earlier has admitted it was a hoax
Papini had told a wild tale of having been abducted and held captive by two gun-wielding Hispanic women, but no arrests were ever made in a seemingly motiveless crime that baffled investigating officers.
Despite her detailed account of the abduction to authorities, skepticism had long surrounded the claims.
The married Papini was finally arrested last month following the six-year investigation once it came to light that she had actually spent the time she claimed to have been kidnapped at the residence of an ex-boyfriend.
She has been charged with lying to federal investigators and fraudulently obtaining $30,000 from the state’s victim compensation board and his been out on a $120,000 bond since her arrest.
After her arrest she struck a plea deal with prosecutors in which she agreed to plead guilty to two counts of mail fraud and lying to a law enforcement officer – charges that carry maximum sentences of 20 years and five years, respectively.
Under the terms of the deal, prosecutors agreed that they would recommend reduced sentences for the pleas and Papini paying restitution of more than $300,000 to federal, state and local agencies.
Papini appeared went before Chief Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman yesterday for an arraignment on charges of one count of making false statements and one count of mail fraud.
She is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11.
‘I’m really struggling to have any compassion or sympathy for her at all which is what a plea deal usually goes towards,’ the sheriff said, admitting he has ‘mixed emotions’ about Papini’s confession.
While he called her admission a sign that investigators did their job well, he was disappointed she was offered a plea deal, having wasted so many years of police time and stoked fear in her local community.
‘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,’ Johnson said.
Papini was accused of lying to authorities during an August 2020 interview. FBI agents warned her in advance that lying to the FBI is a crime
‘She was presented with evidence that showed she had not been abducted,’ U.S. Attorney Phil Talbert’s office said in a statement announcing the charges.
James Reyes told police that Papini caused self-inflicted injuries while staying with him, including hitting herself to create bruises and burning herself on her arms
James Reyes, the ex-boyfriend who hid Sherri Papini, was spotted by DailyMail.com for the first time since her arrest in March
Law enforcement have made no secret of their anger that the mother-of-two essentially wasted six years of police time as they followed up every lead
The area where Sherri Papini was found near the I-5 freeway outside of Yolo, California
She had told cops that the two Hispanic women had branded her on one shoulder, had cut her long blonde hair short and had broken her nose.
‘She appeared to have lost a considerable amount of weight. She had been branded on her right shoulder, although the exact content of the brand was indistinguishable.
‘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.’
Papini’s disappearance saw headlines around the world together with rallies supporting her. A GoFundMe account raised $49,000.
She also received $30,000 from the California Victim Compensation Board, and used the money for therapy sessions, ambulance services and $1,000 to buy window blinds for her home, court documents say. The use of those funds is the basis for the mail fraud charge.
Papini initially was held in the Sacramento County Main Jail for five nights before a judge released her to home confinement and her family posted a $120,000 bond.