A woman who faked her own disappearance while jogging has pleaded guilty to faking her own abduction.
Sherri Papini, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of lying to a federal officer after admitting the story of her three-week disappearance in 2016 was a lie.
Papini’s admission comes just days after striking a deal with prosecutors, who will reportedly recommend lighter sentencing in exchange for a confession from the 39-year-old.
The mum-of-two admitted to the fabrication in Sacramento federal court via Zoom and appeared on the verge of tears throughout her 35-minute hearing, presided over by U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb.
When Judge Shubb asked how Papini was feeling, she responded: “I’m sorry, your honour. I’m sad. I feel very sad, your honour. I feel very sad.”
Papini is due to reappear in court on July 11 for sentencing.
Papini’s admission ends a six-year saga that began on November 2, 2016 when the 39-year-old vanished while out jogging in her hometown of Redding, California.
She was found three weeks later near the side of a road on Thanksgiving, 22 days later and was said to be “bound with restraints” and with a list of injuries including a broken nose and a “brand” on her shoulder.
Daily Star reported in March that Papini had been charged with lying about the ordeal, and at the time the fraudster could have spent up to 20 years in prison and faced a fine of $250,000 (£189,000).
Following Papini’s arrest, Redding mayor Missy McArthur said: “Thank goodness she’s finally admitted to it. Hopefully now she’s going to get some help, some psychiatric help that she clearly needs.”
McArthur, speaking to The Sun, also expressed her sympathies to Papini’s husband, Keith, and their two young children, calling the event a “horrible thing” and that they had been “completely duped” by Papini.
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