A self-styled "kidnap and ransom consultant" who became a key player in the search for abducted jogger Sherri Papini made a promotional video containing disturbing parallels to her ordeal - four years earlier.
Cameron Gamble, a former US elite soldier turned missionary, was a member of Keith Papini's "A-team" of private investigators, ex-cops and lawyers who tried to track down the 34-year-old mother-of-two after she vanished on November 2.
Gamble received widespread media attention when he made a video offering Ms Papini's alleged captors US$50,000 ($70,000) from an "anonymous donor" he claimed to have been retained by, in exchange for her safe return.
When there was no response (there is no evidence any ransom demand was ever made) the "anonymous donor" doubled that sum to $100,000, making another video which was broadcast locally and shared more than 100,000 times on Facebook.
That too was ignored and in a third video, Gamble informed the kidnappers that the deadline for taking the money had now expired and the "offer was no longer on the table".
"The world has been looking for Sherri Papini and now the world is looking for you," he warned.
Less than 48 hours later - after 22 days in alleged captivity - a chained, beaten and emaciated Papini turned up on a remote stretch of the Interstate 5 in Yolo County, more than 240km from where she was last seen.
It would later emerge her skin had been branded with "a message", a practice common in sex trafficking circles and street gangs.
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told reporters he did not believe the ransom offer had anything to do with her release. Money, he said, was not a motive in the case.
Gamble and his wife are the founders of Project TAKEN, which trains Christian missionaries and ministries to "prevent, survive, and escape hostile situations" worldwide.
The agency works in conjunction with the Bethel Church, which is based in Redding, Northern California, where Papini vanished.
Now a promotional video made four years ago spruiking Protect TAKEN has caught the attention of online sleuths.
The video, which can be watched below, warns young women about the threat of stalkers and being kidnapped and contains material eerily similar to Papini's ordeal.
It features an attractive woman in her early 20s with long blonde hair bound to a chair and trapped in a dungeon after her apparent abduction by an unhinged stranger.
Narrating, Gamble explains how she could have avoided her predicament by followinghis expert advice.
The short opens with the Sherri-lookalike, "Jessica" walking through what looks like the halls of college with friends.
She passes a Project TAKEN poster stating that 50,000 women are stalked or kidnapped each year. "You never need us ... until you do," it reads.
The camera cuts to a dark dungeon-like room that resembles an cluttered garage or shipping container and Jessica bound to the chair.
We see a close-up of her bloodied, handcuffed wrists and her legs, which are bound to the chair by thick rope or chains.
As the man, who has entered the dungeon silently, runs a greasy glove down the young woman's back she implores: "Why are you doing this to me?'
"Because you ignored me," he whispers before leaning closer and screaming: "You shouldn't ignore people Jessicaaa!"
It turns out that the kidnapper was furious with Jessica after she was rude to him when he mistakenly bumped into her. She is seen looking him up and down derisively before appearing to make a joke at his expense and strolling off.
Cut to a shot of Cameron Gamble, sitting across from the bound girl in dungeon. He tells her: "We can help you. We can fix this, but you must do exactly as I say. Are you ready?"
"Yes," Jessica replies.
The video's unnerving similarities to Papini's alleged torture and kidnap have spawned perhaps the wildest theory yet in the baffling case.
Some online sleuths are questioning whether it's possible Ms Papini is the unwitting victim of an audacious publicity stunt to drum up publicity for Mr Gamble's kidnap consultancy business.
Detectives are struggling to crack the case, following lines of inquiry ranging from sex trafficking to an obsessed stalker. Social and print media have been awash with claims that the incident was an elaborate hoax but police say they have no reason to doubt the Papinis' story.
Papini, whom police say is struggling to remember much of her ordeal, has given a limited description of her captors - two Hispanic women driving a dark-coloured SUV and armed with a handgun.
Her terrible injuries were detailed in a sensational - and unauthorised - statement released by husband to counter widespread allegations the couple staged the incident for fame and financial gain.
In addition to having her nose broken and being subjected to repeated beatings, his wife had been branded.
Papini's revelations "blindsided" detectives, who now fear he has compromised the investigation by releasing crucial details in the case.
Papini said he felt compelled to defend his family against the "rumours, assumptions, lies and hate" perpetrated by those convinced her ordeal was a hoax.
Investigations into her alleged kidnap are continuing.