TODAY IS EASTER Sunday, and I’m wondering how Sherri and Keith Papini and the kids are doing, and I wonder how Cameron Gamble and his family are faring — and I can’t help but feel something’s brewing, that a grand reveal of some kind is in the works.
With that in mind I’m going to fling some soul fodder at this case and see what happens. What I really want you to read is the second and third section of this essay. The first one is just a warmup, okay?
And I’m sure I’ve said this already, but just to be clear I was never armchair sleuthing here. Just posing questions, pondering their significance, and not so patiently waiting for something new to be revealed. I’m not fond of research. I don’t think Google has ever seen me browsing the search results any
further farther (?) than page four or five, and I’m not a crime tourist. Yes, I reside in Redding, but I’ve never cruised the roads near Sherri and Keith’s home.
I’M SITTING OUTSIDE on a large pine log in the mulch field, where I dump loads and loads of leaves and other natural debris from our property. It takes longer than you’d think, but eventually it all breaks down into beautiful soil. The flock of one Henry and five hens is here with me, digging for worms and munching on the miner’s lettuce that grows wild on our land.
It’s quiet and peaceful, and I can hear the kids next door on what sounds like an Easter egg hunt. The day Sherri Papini vanished was kind of like today, just a different time of year, and the location where she allegedly disappeared had bright blue skies overhead and a good range of view. In other words, it wasn’t an overgrown rabbit tunnel deep in the woods and far from the light of day.
Which makes me think of satellites.
Perhaps we’re not there yet in terms of access and funding, and maybe I’m misunderstanding satellite depth resolution and the cartographic bands they cover as they sweep over Earth. But then again, really? Satellites aren’t in full swing yet as crime solving wonder peepers? There’s precedence for what I’m suggesting, so I can’t help but imagine what a live version of Google Earth would be like and what it would have done for this case on that sunny blue day all those thousands of hours ago.
But never mind Google Earth. Surely they’ve got themselves a bevy of competition up there. We just need a bored SpaceX billionaire funder person to take pity on this case, work her contacts, and beam down those satellite archives for Sheriff Tom Bosenko and his posse to examine. Providing, of course, they exist. But I’d gander a guess there’s a pretty good chance they do.
And what would they reveal?
Sherri jogging maybe. Her iPhone on the ground and how it got there. The dark SUV and the license plate, and the man and woman who were arguing near that intersection and reported to the police. Squirrels hoarding acorns for the winter? The mailman or woman delivering mail to the row of rural boxes?
Maybe nothing because all those orbiting cameras were protesting space junk that day and went on strike. Or maybe what I’m proposing just wasn’t possible on November 2, 2016 at the coordinates of 40°41′42.19″N and 122°19′6.58″W.
Really, maybe it’s that. But not likely.
JUST A FEW days before Sherri Papini was found alive on I-5 in Yolo County, Christine Everson called 911 to report she had spotted a woman at a Redding gas station who looked exactly like Sherri. You can read all about it in Ryan Parry’s Daily Mail exclusive interview.
An exclusive interview, published on a global stage, that fully disclosed Christine’s name and other personal details, such as the name of her Redding family business (Air Shasta Rotor & Wing) and the college her daughter attends (San Luis Obisco in Southern California). We also learned she volunteers with a local sex-trafficking rescue group and she’s a hostage survivor herself.
I haven’t met anyone who personally knows Christine, but it does sound like the woman has some hefty street creds to her name, and she’s also a community activist and watchdog when it comes to keeping her neighborhood safe.
Does this sound like someone whose observations you’d trust?
There may be a lot of blondes in California, but Sherri Papini is memorable — and you can bet Christine had studied up on Sherri’s photos that were everywhere around town and in the news, and was well versed on the circumstances of her disappearance. So it’s curious she would risk her reputation and consent to an interview, unless she was certain she really did see Sherri in that car.
It’s also curious that the phone Christine used to make that 911 call seems to be associated with someone who worked or works at Best Buy, as evidenced by his Facebook page. I haven’t looked into this myself, but you can read all about it in this November 2017 Reddit discussion.
Our previous phone number was one digit off from OSHA’s, and boy did I get a lot of calls from guys who wanted to file complaints about the lack of Porta Potties on their worksites. And guess what? I’ve used a Porta Potty before, like more than once. Isn’t that weird? And our current phone number used to belong to a guy who had a career in education (creditors are after him; that’s how I know), and guess what? I ever so briefly had a career in education, too!
Thank goodness he isn’t wanted for murder, lest I somehow be implicated as an accessory. But yeah, that Best Buy connection is interesting.
Someone I value and trust told me over a year ago that Christine’s story is true; Sherri really was seen at that gas station. This person’s source was a male Best Buy employee who was friends with Keith. Could he be the one who owns that phone? Or is this just a coinkydink like it was with the Porta Potty guys and the educator?
Christine had to have known her phone number would be visible when she made that call. The phone number that showed up on the police call log is undoubtedly the one Christine gave them, and it probably matches the phone she was calling from. And with her sex trafficking work and knowledge of a rescue hotline phone number in that particular gas station’s bathroom, she also must have known about the surveillance cameras.
What I don’t understand is why Christine doesn’t mention anywhere in her interview that she took photos of the woman in that car. Wouldn’t you have taken photos? It would have been easy and discreet, and you can’t tell me there weren’t three smartphones within arm’s reach: Christine’s, her son’s and her husband’s.
So either she didn’t really see Sherri that night, and she’s part of some elaborate hoax that involves Cameron Gamble, Lisa Jeter and just about everyone else connected to this case, including Santa Claus since this all went down in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and the Easter bunny because I’m writing this on Easter.
Or Christine was telling the truth. And not just that she really did think she saw Sherri Papini but that she really did see Sherri Papini — and that’s where things get interesting.
SOMETIMES I’M COY without intending to be coy.
I really don’t enjoy research, and it’s true that I’d much prefer writing about Henry the Rooster. So I’ll take shortcuts and post links and ask that you do some reading to spare me all that extra effort. I’m not a journalist and don’t want to be. What interests me the most is what I’m doing right now: documenting the experience of an armchair contemplator who has avidly followed this case from the moment it hit the airwaves the night Sherri disappeared way back in 2016.
With that in mind, and the fact that my effort at discussing this next bit of the case on Reddit tanked fast and resulted in some name calling by way of private messages, I chose not to reveal in my Part Four essay what I was referencing when I said there’s something about this case that had been presented as Sherri having lied about what transpired the day she was found, when she very well may have been telling the truth.
That was a mouthful to write. I’m tempted to wander off on a digression about mosquitos and wild turkeys, since it’s now night and I’m hungry and the chickens are mad clucking for reasons only known to them. But I’ll stay the course and get this said.
Can I just quote Kermit the Frog really quick?
Maybe you don’t need the whole world to love you, you know, maybe you just need one person.
I’m fond of saying that the older I get the more I look like a washed up Muppet. Beaker’s my doppelgänger — seriously, you’ll laugh should you someday see me — but he’s kind of hard to quote:
I love animals, but Animal doesn’t do it much better:
Okay, now that that’s done. What I was about to say was that I didn’t want to be identified as someone who created a Reddit account and then left, so I chose to be vague in that essay. Here’s what I wrote, since I love quoting myself:
But with this particular detail, it just doesn’t make sense that what was revealed in an interview is accurate. For the life of me, I can’t come up with anything that would support the evidence we were shown, and the determination that was made, as actual truth.
In other words, it’s possible Sherri wasn’t lying, and if I’m right and she was telling the truth — and this particular detail is kind of a big deal to the case — then what does that say about the other big deal details of her case?
This doesn’t earn me an Encyclopedia Brown merit badge, but here’s what I was referencing:
It simply didn’t make sense that Sherri would have lied about pounding on the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall door the morning she suddenly resurfaced. Sheriff Bosenko either directly stated that Sherri hadn’t been seen on any of the church’s surveillance videos, or he refused to respond to questions for the sake of case integrity, I can’t recall. But someone did go on camera who had knowledge of those tapes, and he said nope, no Sherri. And who was that someone? Practically god himself: one of the church elders.
Journalist: “Did they find anything?”
Church elder’s response: “No, they didn’t find anything.”
And so just like that Sherri had been framed as a liar. But someone did lie alright or was intentionally misled, as evidenced by that response. Puppet strings, anyone?
Sherri had been gone from her children for three weeks and was found covered in bruises, bound in restraints, and with a broken nose, a brand on her shoulder, and butchered hair. I know Sherri has a troubled past, but despite her history of questionable behavior and the other elements at question in this case, did she really need to embellish her story at this point?
How do you address something like this without coming across as a nut job? But I thought it was worth exploring, so I left an unreturned message on the church’s phone (okay, that qualifies as a bit of sleuthing) and created a new discussion on Reddit. This was months before the Sheriff resurfaced in November 2017 and released the surveillance video of Sherri Papini running toward the church, just as she said she had done, and presumably, off camera, pounding on the door.
No one wanted to consider the possibility that Sherri had been truthful. I lost a lot of sleep over this one detail because of how much it bothered me that at least some aspect of her story may have really happened — and if I was right, what else had we gotten wrong? As I keep repeating throughout my essay series, even if what happened to her was personal and not random (although nothing is ever random), a victim is a victim until proven otherwise.
And that right there became the motivation for how I approached the five essays (and counting) I’ve written on this case.
JUST THAT THE possibility is there that if the Sheriff allowed the public to be misled when he obviously spoon-fed the church elder by telling him “they” didn’t find anything of interest on the surveillance videos, a similar play may be in place in regards to Christine Everson and her Sherri Papini sighting at the gas station.
It doesn’t make sense. Sherri’s face had gone global, so why put her in the front seat of a car where everyone could see her? I also don’t understand why Christine supposedly didn’t take any photos, considering her sex trafficking background, and why she waited five long minutes to call 911.
And then there’s that weird thing with the phone number in the police call log and the Best Buy connection. How do you account for that? Well, as far as I’m concerned you don’t, not from where I’m sitting in my cozy armchair with all kinds of furred creatures packed around me and a plate of spaghetti on its way.
I don’t know what’s true and what isn’t in this case, and neither do you. You can bet Sheriff Bosenko sure does, but all these gobs of months and thousands of hours later and this case is still locked up in a mire of assumptions and silence, and that troubles me. It’s time we learn something new to help inch this case a teeny bit closer to resolution.
More soon. And for now adieu, folks.
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Sherri Papini: The Jen and Cameron Gamble edition