Report: Missing California mom found chained to object, beaten

Posted at 7:50 AM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-28 07:58:09-05

A Northern California woman was chained to an object and had been badly beaten when found near an interstate three weeks after she disappeared while jogging, according to a newspaper citing a police-dispatch recording.

The Sacramento Bee reported that it acquired an audio clip of the exchange between dispatchers and officers in the moments after 34-year-old Sherri Papini flagged down a passing motorist near Interstate 5.

"CHP is on scene and advised that she is chained to something," a radio dispatcher told a responding officer. "CHP is advising that she is heavily battered."

Authorities previously said Papini was injured badly enough to require medical treatment when she was found before dawn Thursday, but have given no details of her condition. Calls to California Highway Patrol spokesmen were not immediately returned Friday night.

Earlier Friday, a family member and law enforcement said they expected Papini to spend her first few days of freedom quietly, with family.

"We are very, very thankful and very ecstatic," sister Sheila Koester, 36, told The Associated Press by telephone. "It's the best Thanksgiving that anyone could ask for."

Speaking separately at a news conference, Koester declined questions about her sister's disappearance and rescue and the ongoing Shasta County criminal investigation to find those responsible, saying she knew no details.

"Right now she's been through a very traumatic event, and needs time with her family," Koester said.

A motorist spotted Papini before dawn Thursday near Interstate 5 about 150 miles south of the area where she had vanished, outside her home near Redding.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told reporters on Thursday that authorities are looking for two women, armed with a handgun and driving an SUV, who allegedly released Papini near the interstate that morning.

The motorist who spotted Papini called authorities, who connected the mother of two to her husband by cellphone.

"She was very emotional to be released and hear her husband's voice and then a few hours later to be reunited with him," Bosenko told "Good Morning America" on Friday.

Bosenko says Papini, the mother of two children, was treated and released at a local hospital for unspecified injuries after her reappearance.

The sheriff told reporters hours after Papini's rescue that he was withholding some information he considered sensitive for the sake of the investigation.

"Obviously she was emotional and quite upset, but elated to be freed, and so we were able to get some information from her," Bosenko told "Good Morning America." ''Then, in the days following this, we will be following up with her."

The Shasta County sheriff's department did not respond to calls and emails from The Associated Press seeking further comment Friday.

Sandra Oswald, a 29-year-old community organizer in Redding, had helped run search groups to look for the missing woman. Oswald is a runner, like Papini, and said her sudden vanishing hit close to home.

"It was just the biggest blessing, not only for the family but for the community that's been trying to find her," Oswald said of Papini's return. "Now, it's just praying for them and her recovery."


Reporter Janie Har contributed to this story.