At the start of November 2016, Keith Papini’s then-wife, Sherri, seemingly vanished after going for an afternoon jog near their home in Redding, California. The husband desperately looked for her, but she only showed up around three weeks later. However, in a strange twist, the authorities learned that Sherri’s claim of being kidnapped wasn’t true; it was just an elaborate hoax. ABC News’ ‘20/20: The Vanishing Act’ focuses on what happened and how it changed the lives of the people involved. So, if you’re wondering where Keith might be today, here’s what we know.
Who is Keith Papini?
Keith Papini married Sherri in 2009, and they had two children together — a son and a daughter. While November 2, 2016, started like any other day for the Papinis, things quickly took a dark turn for the family. Keith began looking for Sherri when she didn’t pick up their kids from child care. So, Keith used the Find my iPhone app to locate her phone and earbuds in Redding. At the time, he felt the cell phone was placed there, which he considered weird. Nevertheless, Keith reported Sherri missing the same evening.
Keith later said, “Knowing that she didn’t pick up our kids — there is no way that ever happens. She could drop her phone, but she would never in a million years not pick up our children on a time that she normally would have.” He had received a text from Sherri in the morning but hadn’t replied to it until the afternoon on that day. Keith believed she had been kidnapped, adding, “Everybody who knows my wife knows that there’s no reason for her to leave … She was definitely taken against her will.”
Then, around three weeks later, Sherri was found on a rural road more than 100 miles from her home. She appeared to be injured and bound. Initially, Sherri didn’t talk to the police, with Keith conducting the first interview with her. She claimed that two Hispanic women had kidnapped her at gunpoint and held her captive in a closet before letting her go. Throughout the whole thing, Keith supported his wife and remained hopeful of the supposed kidnappers’ arrests.
However, the authorities realized there was more to the story. By 2020, they learned that Sherri’s kidnapping was a hoax; she had planned the whole thing herself and had been living with a former boyfriend, James Reyes. She had told James that Keith was abusing her and wanted to get away from him. When confronted with that information in August 2020, she denied everything. At the time, Sherri only admitted to flirting with other men. Keith, who was in the interview room during this, was shocked at the new information; he had mentioned Sherri being unfaithful in the past.
Where is Keith Papini Today?
Sherri Papini was arrested in March 2022 and pleaded guilty to federal charges the following month. Keith separated from her on the day of her arrest and then filed for divorce in April 2022. After more than a decade of marriage, he cited irreconcilable differences and wanted full custody of their two children, then 9 and 7. Apart from that, Keith wanted all of their property and asked that Sherri only have supervised visitation.
Keith said in the divorce filing, “Now that I have learned the truth, as reflected in the plea arrangement agreement that she has made with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento, I must act decisively to protect my children from the trauma caused by their mother and bring stability and calm to their lives.” Since then, he has chosen to stay away from the spotlight and has focused on raising their son and daughter. Keith lives in Mountain Gate, California, and has been trying to move on with his life since.