Sheila Koester: Sherri Papini’s Sister is Now Focusing on Her Family

When mother of two Sherri Papini suddenly disappeared a mile away from her home in Redding, California, while jogging on November 2, 2016, the entire nation was left baffled to the core. That’s because the only evidence subsequently recovered was this 34-year-old’s cell phone and earbuds at a nearby intersection, making it appear as if she’d dropped them while in danger. Thus began an extensive search for her, with her sister Sheila Koester leading the charge, unaware the whole ordeal was a hoax — as explored in Hulu’s ‘Perfect Wife: The Mysterious Disappearance of Sherri Papini.’

Sheila Koester Was Greatly Affected by Her Sister’s Vanishing

Born around August 1980 as the elder of Loretta and Richard Graeff’s two daughters, Sheila still vividly remembers how traumatic her and her 22-month younger sister Sherri’s childhood was. “We didn’t have very much money [growing up],” she candidly said in the aforementioned documentary series before adding there was also “a lot of drug and alcohol abuse” in their household. She thus became quite responsible at an early age, leading her sibling to look up to her as a mother figure rather than just a sister — a dynamic that reportedly persisted even as they evolved into independent adults.

Therefore, the second Sheila received the call of Sherri being missing from her husband, Keith Papini, she broke down and crumbled right to the floor before quickly deciding to take action. She actually traveled to the Papini home alongside her life partner and then organized an extensive search to span leagues of the nearby area with the help of hundreds of willing volunteers. She even gave on-camera interviews to several different media outlets in the hopes of garnering some concrete tips from the public that could lead to her sister being located, but to no avail.

In the end, Sherri herself reappeared 22 days later on Thanksgiving Day, claiming she’d been set free by her captors that morning in Yolo County — 150 miles away from where she’d vanished. Sheila was obviously, understandably over the moon upon hearing this news, only to then grow horrified upon seeing all the deep marks, injuries, and brands having been left on her sister’s body. Nevertheless, she subsequently did her best to focus solely on Sherri’s overall needs as well as recovery, just to later have the rug swept from under her feet — the hoax came to light in 2022.

Where is Sheila Koester Now?

It’s actually unclear whether Sheila and Sherri still share the same bond they once did, yet we do know the former has never condoned or even understood why her younger sister did what she did. In fact, she has even gone as far as to denounce the latter on Facebook — she once penned, “It was only until the day before [Sherri] entered her guilty plea [in 2022] that she privately admitted to me – for the first time ever – that she’d lied about everything to everyone,” before later also revealing, “My sister is deeply disturbed. Sadly, despite what she has expressed to the media, she feels no remorse or guilt for the untold damage she has caused.”

Coming to her own personal standing, Sheila is currently based in Chico, California, where she’s surrounded by her loving husband and their two young children at every step of the way. This former First Grade Teacher at Nord Country School turned Independent Consultant at Jamberry actually appears to spend every bit of her time devoted to her own immediate family these days. Moreover, her social media platforms indicate she also does her best to raise awareness about other missing people around California, hoping they’d be found safe and sound — she understands the agony of not knowing and doesn’t want anyone else to go through what she once did.

Read More: Tyler and Violet Papini: Sherri Papini’s Kids Are Living With Their Father Today