ON THANKSGIVING DAY morning, in the year of our Lord two thousand and sixteen, the sun still tucked well below the horizon and the nighttime temperatures quite cold, a flaxen haired fairy princess was pushed out of a moving chariot on a rural road, about 140 miles from where she had been stolen from her kingdom, and she was free.
Just like that, her twenty-two day nightmare was over, on a glorious holiday that celebrates family and gratitude as a nation, and mere hours before the scheduled release of hundreds of yellow cherubs in her honor.
Redding was losing hope for missing supermom Sherri Papini, who vanished while jogging on November 2, 2016. But according to her father-in-law in the Daily Mail, her husband Keith had promised their son, one week before she mysteriously reappeared, that mommy would be home for Thanksgiving dinner, and by golly she was, mostly. It seems she may not have seen her children for a few days, while she regained her strength, but she was indeed home, and she was safe, and really that was all that mattered.
While balloons floated up toward heaven and reminded the entire world to keep praying for Sherri’s release — the good news hadn’t been publicly announced just yet — she was quietly reunited with Keith in a small hospital a few hours south of the gathering. Despite having been starved, beaten and branded during her captivity, she seemed to be okay, and so the fairy princess went home to her castle that same day.
In the days that followed, Sherri’s sister Sheila held an enlightening press conference, where we learned absolutely nothing new about Sherri and her captivity, but we did learn Sheila was pregnant and emotional. And the Sheriff held some press conferences, too, where we learned they were looking for two armed Latina women who were described as having eyebrows, hair and pierced ears.
Spanish speaking Kilroys were on the loose, and people were scared. But if an emotional pregnant woman had nothing to share, and I’ve never known an emotional pregnant woman with nothing to share, and the Sheriff himself had nothing new to share — and gobs of weeks later he still doesn’t have anything new to share — I can only conclude, and I know this is brilliant, please buy me a cup of coffee:
There’s really, truly, very quite seriously, absolutely nothing gosh darn new to share.
And so this, dear readers, is where we stand on the dawn of a brand new year. Armed and dangerous body parts are roaming the streets of Northern California, presumably inch-worming their way toward another unsuspecting princess, ready to lasso her with their long black hair and muzzle her with eyebrows of varying thicknesses — a terrifying thought if you can spare a few quick seconds to ponder just what that might mean.
But should we care all these weeks later? Does the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office care? Do the deer and the antelope and John Denver’s ghost gosh darn care? Does anybody really care anymore about the Latina Kidnapping Kilroy Gang and their hair follicles and split ends?
Honestly, I don’t really know.
Sheriff Bosenko described the suspects (haha, not really) in his press conference and cautioned people to be careful, did he not? He also said he had no reason to doubt that Sherri had been abducted. But then why so much silence? And how come there haven’t been any more details about her kidnappers? Was she in a covered hole for three weeks with her eyes, ears and nose taped shut?
And why is Sheriff Bosenko’s lead investigator Anthony Bertain on record as having said he told the Papini family he doesn’t think she was abducted?
There’s fifty shades of weirdness to this case, that’s for sure. And there’s also an awful lot I could share, analyze and discuss. But I’m mostly just a dog, frog and piano blogger, not an armchair sleuth or a journalist, and I refuse to stand under an Umbrella of Shame and cast aspersions and twirl my nipple tassels for some quick cash and page views. I want to know the truth as much as you do, but I don’t want to participate in a witch hunt and throw unsubstantiated mud anymore at people I don’t know.
Did I just write another tautology? I’m so good at those.
In other words, I can go to town on this case, but I’d rather not. As someone who’s been bullied my entire life, especially as an adult, I know what it’s like to be slung with false accusations. And once those accusations percolate through your friends and neighbors, you kind of sink into the coffee grounds and wonder how you’re ever going to breathe fresh air again.
Sherri’s mom Loretta Graeff posted this meme recently in response to some bullying she’s had to endure on her Facebook page. I’m not sure why she hasn’t set her page to private, but that still doesn’t justify these accusations against her daughter.
Even the nicest people have their limits. Don’t try to reach that point, because the nicest people are also the scariest people when they’ve had enough.
People can be total jerk wads, and I’m teetering right on the brink of jerkwadness just by writing this essay series — an essay series, I’ve been told, that doesn’t actually say anything. But show me where I’ve declared myself a breaking news reporter, camped out on the front lines of the Sherri Papini case, and I’ll flash you those nipple tassels I mentioned.
Anyway, here’s a quick rundown on one of the strangest missing persons cases in the history of this country, and please do take note of the bolded font.
1) We know Sherri vanished in a flurry of Brigadoon fog, but not before carefully placing her iPhone and three strands of her signature blonde hair (Gone Girl ad infinitum) on a patch of grass on the side of the road for safe keeping.
2) We know she suddenly de-Brigadooned rather conveniently on Thanksgiving Day, also known as the Day the Wildlife Stranglers Were Released, and just one day later the Daily Mail ran an exclusive interview of Keith’s dad and included a Thanksgiving photo of Sherri and Keith’s children, which was rather surprising for a family that calls itself private.
3) And we know suspect Sherri and her adoring husband Keith may not be the fairytale couple we’ve been told they are by their friends and family. But for now this is where I step back and pull a Bosenko and don’t say a word. I do have my theories, but they’re roughshod and inconsequential, so on the shelf they sit.
The only other item of interest is that I had an exclusive interview with Mr. Potato Head today. It was tricky, since he’s underground right now, but it only took a little digging to get this out of him.
It turns out his Latina girlfriends want their face parts back. He’s even offering a ransom for the safe return of their outlaw hair and eyebrows. It didn’t go too well when I reminded him they’re suspects in Sherri’s abduction, not victims, but that’s a spud for you. Anyway, the details of the ransom are forthcoming. I’ll keep you posted.
Geesh. You see how I teeter? It’s like when I said Cameron Gamble is Pee-wee Herman and John Walsh’s lovechild. That was really mean.
I’m a Christian, and my bible is on my desk right next to my MacBook Air (name dropping because I love Apple). But so is my copy of Gone Girl that I never finished reading and never will. Hello, oozy, drippy, over-embellished writing that makes me want to dismember a stuffed animal.
And there I go again, meanness just everywhere! And can’t the same be said about my own writing? Don’t answer that. It was rhetorical.
You know what, folks? It’s kind of a gunky feeling contemplating the worse in someone, and it’s even worse when you’re wrong. But isn’t that the risk you take when you’re investigating a wonky case and culling a list of suspects? Law enforcement, attorneys, private investigators, journalists and armchair sleuths: They all have to go there if they want to unearth clues and eventually figure out what really happened to Sherri Papini.
I’m unearthing potatoes while others are digging up material that may actually mean something.
But it’s really starting to feel as if this case has flatlined, and that worries me. We deserve to know what happened. Even now, all these weeks later since Sheriff Bosenko’s last press conference, women in Redding don’t feel safe — not just because of this case, mind you. There’s a dung ton of reasons why people don’t feel safe in this town.
But to leave us just hanging here, not knowing for sure whether they’re investigating this case anymore? Not knowing for sure if the Sheriff and his team of investigators really believe masked and dangerous Latina women did this to Sherri? That kind of sucks big furry moose balls.
Does law enforcement really care anymore about finding Sherri’s abductors? It’s easy to answer NO. But as I’m fond of saying, I’m no Scooby Dumb. You bet your Willy Wonka they care; it’s naive of me to think otherwise. And I’m sure they’re just as frustrated as anyone else that this freaky weird case has static clung itself to the edge of a cliff and won’t budge. Can’t they just pull a Roadrunner and give it a nice little shove already?
Beep-beep!! You gotta love that bird.
Until that happens and the case smashes open and the truth is revealed, or Sherri Papini does her own 20/20 interview and helps put some of the speculation and rumors to rest — or someone else comes forward and proffers up some much needed insight and salvation — I’m going to shelve this essay series and resume writing about forest creatures and Bach.
And maybe I’ll shift some of my writerly energy to the dog book I’ve been intending to write for years. I’m not a children’s writer, it should be noted, so consider that a teaser.
Anyway, let’s put this essay series to rest for a while.
As always, if you tolerated what I wrote enough to read it all the way to the end and want to share it with your friends, please do. I’m totally unplugged from social media these days and intend to stay that way, which makes finding new eyeballs to read my work really challenging. So I’d be super grateful.
And on that quick promotional note, I bid you adieu and farewell.
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five
This is not a Sherri Papini essay
This is a Sherri Papini essay
Sherri Papini shot and killed Mary Poppins
What don't we know about the Sherri Papini case?
Sherri Papini: The Jen and Cameron Gamble edition