Sheriff: Missing California mom found safe

REDDING, Calif. — Sherri Papini, the Mountain Gate mom who went missing Nov. 2 after going on a jog, was located safe, the Shasta County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday.

According to the sheriff's office, Papini was reunited with husband, Keith Papini. She is "safe, in stable condition and receiving medical clearance at an undisclosed hospital."

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said at a news conference Thurday afternoon that a reward that was offered for Sherri Papini played no role in her safe discovery.

Bosenko says his office was notified at 4:30 a.m. Thursday that Papini had been released by her captor on a rural road near Interstate 5 in Yolo County.

She was bound with restraints, but got help from a passing motorist on Interstate 5 near a county road, he said.

The California Highway Patrol, Yolo County Sheriff's Office and medical personnel immediately responded to her location, he said.

A family spokesman thanked law enforcement officers for their work and residents for support and prayers that were answered Thursday.

"This is a Thanksgiving beyond belief for all of us," Rod Rodriguez posted on the Facebook group Redding Crime 2.0. "Although I have no details yet we are joyous that Sherri is alive and Keith is reunited with her at the hospital."

Developments in the case came about two hours after friends, family and supporters gathered at Diestelhorst Landing in Redding for a somber balloon release to bring awareness that she was missing and to keep hope alive in finding her.

Turkey Trot participants watched as hundreds of yellow balloons floated in the sky. Papini family friend Scott Bruland kept his hopes up as he addressed a crowd and recited a poem Keith Papini had written to his wife.

Later during the event, Bruland said he was hopeful there would be a break in the case. "We hope Sherri is found and is returned safely very soon."

His wife, Jessica Bruland, passed out yellow ribbons during the event. She asked people to keep her friend in the eye of the public.

Separately, a ransom-turned-reward website created by a mystery donor has been shut down. A check of the site around the time of the sheriff's office's announcement showed it was blank.

A call to negotiator Cameron Gamble was not immediately returned.

Follow Jenny Espino on Twitter: @jennyespino_RS


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