7 Questions We Still Want Answered About the Sherri Papini Kidnapping

Sherri Papini wedding
NBC News

Sherri Papini, the missing "super mom" who was kidnapped, beaten, and branded and then released three weeks later on Thanksgiving morning, has been reunited with her husband Keith and two young kids. According to the New York Post, the Papini family has left their home near Redding, California, for an undisclosed location, presumably for privacy and healing. We are so glad she is safely back with her family, but there are still so many questions that remain about her kidnapping and her two captors, still at large. So many questions, in fact, it's hard to move on without answers. 


Here, seven burning questions we just really need to have answered because the mystery, wonder, and fear surrounding this horror story is just too great. 

1. Are the people in her community, especially the young women, safe? From the day Sherri Papini was reported missing until she was released on Thanksgiving morning, no one in law enforcement has suggested her abduction could represent a larger threat. Even now, with her alleged captors, armed and dangerous, still at large, shouldn't people be worried? Sure, they said to be vigilant and go jogging in pairs -- but there was no overall statement about locking your doors and staying inside. Maybe the sheriff's office didn't want to invoke fear over a seemingly rare case. Or maybe they know more than they're saying. Either way, that wouldn't sit well with me if I lived in the vicinity. 

More from CafeMom: Husband of Kidnapped 'Super Mom' Gives Chilling Details After Her Abduction

2. Why hasn't the sheriff's office released a sketch or a more detailed description of her captors? Sure, I guess it's possible the two "Hispanic female adults" could have sneaked up and kidnapped Sherri off the jogging trail while wearing masks over their faces, but that's pretty unlikely in the broad daylight. She had to have seen more. So why haven't we gotten a better description of the SUV (not even the color?) or the women (like their eye colors, body types, clothing, or even the type of masks, etc.)?

3. Why wasn't Sherri Papini kept overnight at the hospital after she was released? This is really bothersome, for as extensive as her injuries sounded. She was missing for almost three weeks, badly beaten, had been branded on her skin in some way, and had lost at least 10 pounds from her already thin frame. It's assumed she would at least need fluids and observation. However, Sheriff Tom Bosenko told PeopleSherri was treated for her injuries and released. "She was there for a number of hours receiving treatment and then released," he said. "She was not admitted to the hospital." Very strange and possibly even irresponsible.

More from CafeMom: New Sherri Papini Interviews Reveal Details About Her Kidnappers

4. Was Sherri Papini a sex trafficking victim? This is the most widely spread theory around Papini's abduction, and at least one private investigator and veteran of human trafficking cases, Bill Garcia, told NBC News, "the chains and the branding indicate that it was most likely one of these sex trafficking groups." However, if this is the case, why would her captors brutalize her and ruin the "commodity" they'd be trying to sell? Is this how they "break" their victims? And then why would they let her go and chance getting caught or identified? Did the media attention surrounding the big reward make her captors freak out and ditch her? Or did one of her female captors have a change of heart? 


5. Was Sherri Papini the victim of a sick gang or cult initiation? These theories are also being floated out there (mostly by armchair detectives on Reddit). Was she the victim of some terrible gang initiation or cult brainwashing gone wrong? And would gang or cult members really risk the kind of jail time that would come with a high-profile abduction like this one? These feel off to me.

6. Did her kidnappers think she was a teenager? Going along with any of the above theories, Sherri Papini, who is 34, does look quite young and is very petite. Did her captors think she was young and thus easier to "recruit" or brainwash?

More from CafeMom: Husband of Sherri Papini on the Emotional Moment He Told His Son: 'I Found Mom'

7. Why hasn't Sherri Papini spoken out publicly? Granted, she went through a very traumatic ordeal, something none of us can possibly imagine, and something of which we do not know the full extent. Maybe it's just too much emotionally for her to face the public now. Or maybe she is somehow embarrassed or ashamed of her brutalized appearance, even though she was the victim. However, don't all those people who helped look for her and worried about her and her family deserve to see and know she is well? Or maybe that's just selfish. She is the victim, after all, and only needs to concentrate on healing for herself and her family.

This kidnapping mystery is just so hard to shake. We hope more will be revealed and soon. 

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