There have been several stunning new developments in the bizarre unsolved kidnap of California mum Sherri Papini.

Papini, 35, told detectives she was abducted by two Hispanic women who held her captive for 22 days last November before inexplicably releasing her alive on Thanksgiving morning.

But in their first public briefing overnight in more than 11 months, the Shasta County Sheriff's Office revealed both male and female DNA was found on her clothes.

The FBI has released sketches of two female suspects wanted in connection with the unsolved kidnapping of the California mum. Photo / Supplied
The FBI has released sketches of two female suspects wanted in connection with the unsolved kidnapping of the California mum. Photo / Supplied

They also released sketches of two partially masked female suspects based on vague descriptions provided by the mother-of-two in the wake of her release.


In another twist, investigators disclosed that in the lead up to her disappearance, Papini exchanged text messages with a man in Michigan.

Sergeant Brian Jackson told reporters that Papini and the male acquaintance texted each other plans to meet when he was in California on business.

However, detectives flew to Michigan to interview him and subsequently ruled out his involvement in the case, he said.

The revelation explains the mystery trip made by detectives to Michigan between November 9 and November 11 last year, while Papini was still missing.

The Sacramento Bee leaked details of the trip in December after obtaining travel receipts showing Shasta County detectives travelled to Detroit and its suburbs of New Hudson, Northville, Plymouth and Canton.

Until now, investigators had refused to explain why they went out of state.

Papini and her family have been in hiding since she was discovered bound and beaten by the side of a highway in Yolo County more than 200km from where she last seen jogging near her Redding home.

The petite blonde had lost a significant amount of weight and bore the scars of having been branded - a skin modification sometimes employed by sex traffickers to signify ownership.


Investigators provided the new details on Wednesday morning local time, along with a pair of FBI sketches of her abductors and a 911 call made by her husband, Keith, recorded on November 2, the day she disappeared.

It is the first new information released by the Shasta County Sheriff's Office about the case since a November 30, 2016 press conference.

A sign for Mountain Gate, California, shows resident Sherri Papini, 34, near where she disappeared. Photo / AP
A sign for Mountain Gate, California, shows resident Sherri Papini, 34, near where she disappeared. Photo / AP


In an explosive follow up interview with The Bee, Sgt Jackson admitted several inconsistencies in Papini's story had been identified but said they should not be taken as a sign that she had fabricated any part of her story.

Among them was Papini's claim she had cut her right foot during a fight with the younger of the two female attackers fight. Investigators found no evidence of such a wound, Sgt Jackson said.

She told detectives she had slammed the women's head into a toilet when she was allowed to leave the room to take a shower.

"Obviously, in any investigation, especially something of this nature where there's trauma and it's a prolonged thing, it's not abnormal to have inconsistencies, because recall and circumstances in people's perception," Sgt Jackson told The Bee.

"So that's normal in any case, even something that occurred over five minutes."


Sgt Jackson said detectives found DNA from two people - a man and a woman - during analysis of the clothes Ms Papini was wearing when she was found but refused to say whether they came from hair or bodily fluids.

"We're not releasing exactly what the samples came from, so that when we get a chance to interview some suspects, we can maybe have an edge on them," he said.

The detective did reveal that the male DNA did not match that of her husband Keith, who has been ruled out as a suspect and has passed at least two voluntary lie detector tests.

The DNA was loaded into a criminal database but had so far returned no matches

Sgt Jackson revealed Ms Papini's hair had been cut to shoulder length during her captivity and that the branded message - which police have refused to reveal details of - had been stamped into her right shoulder.

She told detectives that just before her release, she heard her captors arguing, followed by the sound of a gunshot. The younger attacker then took her from the room where she was held captive and dropped her off near the roadside where she was found.

"That was something that was followed up on between us and Yolo County," Sgt Jackson said.

"We haven't been able to confirm any missing persons, any unknown types of homicides in the Yolo County area, or even in our county or any combining counties. That's some additional information we're still following up on to confirm and verify."

Sherri Papini's husband Keith, pictured together, is not a suspect, police say. Photo / Supplied
Sherri Papini's husband Keith, pictured together, is not a suspect, police say. Photo / Supplied


In the 911 tape released overnight, a distressed Keith Papini can be heard telling the operator that he came home from work to find his wife and children were not in the house.

He states no one had picked up his kids from daycare, and that Sherri had texted him that morning, hoping to meet at home for lunch.

He tells the dispatcher he used a iPhone locator app to try track her down, only to find her phone discarded along with a pair of headphone near a dirt trail at Mountain Gate, near their home.

"I just drove down there, and I found her phone with her headphones because she started running again, and I found her phone and it's got her hair ripped out of it, like in the headphones," he says, breathing heavily.

"I'm totally freaking out, thinking that somebody, like, grabbed her."

According to police, Ms Papini's phone had been found carefully placed with the screen up and headphones - tangled with a few strands of Papni's hair - neatly coiled on top. At the time they stated there was nothing to suggest a struggle.


Sketches of the suspects have taken almost a year to complete because Papini was able to provide only vague descriptions since they covered their faces most of the time.

She stated that one of the women had thin eyebrows, long curly hair and pierced ears.

The second suspect was older with straight grey-streaked black hair and thick eyebrows.

Papini claimed both spoke Spanish most of the time and that she had no idea where she was held.

Detectives said last year that Papini dumped by her abductors after a ride in an SUV she could only describe as "dark-coloured".

On Wednesday, detectives said Papini could now recall that the vehicle had a large side window.

Sgt Jackson said Ms Papini and her family were in regular contact, with investigators continuing to show her photographs of different SUV makes and models in the hope of jogging her memory.

After his wife's dramatic release, Mr Papini gave an emotional interview with ABC News in which he shared distressing details of his wife's ordeal.

He said she was emaciated, the bridge of her nose had been broken and that her body was covered in scabs and bruises. She had marks on her skin from wearing chains and her "signature long blond hair had been chopped off".

According to Fox News, the Shasta County Sheriff's Office has received more than 600 tips from around the world in relation to the case. A US$10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the identification of the two female suspects.