Sherri Papini’s pal still supports her after ‘joke’

Sherri Papini’s former colleague supported California’s ‘super mom’ accused of staging her own kidnapping – to say that love makes you do “crazy things”.

Speaking to The Post from her home in Redding, Calif., Joyce Travis applauded Papini even after prosecutors accused her of sparking a three-week manhunt in 2016 while she was allegedly in hiding with a former boyfriend.

“We’re all so quick to judge, but everyone makes mistakes,” said Travis, who worked with Papini at a local AT&T store.

“She obviously made a huge mistake, but she followed her heart and did what she thought was necessary to be with someone who loved her and loved back. That is not easy to find in this world.”

Travis was stunned by the allegations against Papini, who was charged earlier this month Postal Fraud and Misrepresentation to law enforcement authorities in connection with her alleged kidnapping.

Papini was charged earlier this month with mail fraud and false statements to law enforcement in connection with her alleged kidnapping.
Papini was charged earlier this month with mail fraud and false statements to law enforcement in connection with her alleged kidnapping.

But she said she could understand why Papini would have risked everything for a chance at love.

“I would probably say to her, ‘You know, you must have felt so much love for this person that you had to make up the story,'” Travis said in an interview on Friday. “There are a lot of crazy things you can do with the strong feeling of love, so she must have been in love with that person for her to do something like that.”

Daddy39, from Redding, was arrested for her alleged kidnapping scam which made headlines around the world in November 2016.

Papini hides from photographers as he leaves prison on March 8th.
Papini hides from photographers as he leaves prison on March 8th.
Andri Tambunan

Daddy claimed two Hispanic women kidnapped her at gunpoint while she was jogging – but prosecutors now say she lied the entire time and was staying at the home of an ex-boyfriend, James Reyes, about 150 miles away in Southern California. They said she allegedly attacked herself to back up her story.

“I just pictured her running down the street, being kidnapped, and her phone being left behind,” Travis recalled. “I imagined the worst. I was just so scared and worried about her.”

She added: “It’s just overwhelming and shocking to see her back on the news. I kept saying, ‘Oh my God! No, that can’t happen!’”

Sherri Papini and her husband Keith.
Papini and her husband Keith.
Courtesy of Keith Papini

When Papini finally showed up on Thanksgiving morning that year, Travis and other co-workers helped buy her a huge bouquet. She said Papini’s husband, Keith, personally delivered a thank-you note, which she keeps in her memory book to this day.

“Her husband made a trip to my store where I worked to deliver it to me in person because he knew I was the one supporting Sherri and supporting her all along,” Travis said. “The message she sent is sentimental to me because it was representative of her being alive, being found alive and well. It’s just something I want to keep forever.”

In the 2016 letter, Papini wrote that she wanted to express her gratitude for the “support, love and kindness” her coworkers have shown her family.

A missing person reported to Papini in November 2016.
A missing person reported to Papini in November 2016.
Andrew Seng

“Thank you for the lovely card and beautiful flowers,” Papini said in the handwritten note. “I save them as a reminder of the amazing people and support I have in my life. I will forever be grateful to you all and look forward to seeing you in person.”

Papini’s kidnapping story began to unravel in 2020 when DNA she had on her body and clothing on the day she was found in 2016 led investigators to a former boyfriend.

“Papini told him that her husband beat and raped her and that she was trying to escape,” the criminal complaint reads.

Papini is also accused by the federal prosecutor blow up the $49,070 donated via GoFundMe’s Bring Sherri Home Safe page to credit card debt and other personal expenses. Authorities said it appears her husband Keith and an unnamed ex-boyfriend at least knew about her ruse.

Prosecutors allege that Papini's husband, Keith, was aware of her subterfuge.
Prosecutors allege that Papini’s husband, Keith, was aware of her subterfuge.

A former neighbor in Redding, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Post that Papini was known as the pretty blonde — and the guy who “always wants attention.”

Other family friends who helped raise funds for the family in 2016 declined to comment on Papini’s allegations. A former friend, who asked not to be named, scoffed when asked if he still supported Papini.

“No, we haven’t spoken to her and we don’t have anything to say about that,” he said.

Travis said she didn’t communicate with Papini outside of the thank-you note.

She recalled meeting Keith while she was running errands around town.

“Keith said, ‘She’s fine. She’s very nervous because she has PTSD and it’s going to be a while before she gets back to normal,'” Travis said.

Travis added that Papini never mentioned anything about leaving her marriage or reconnecting with her ex-boyfriend.

“She always had only positive things to say when she spoke about her family,” she said. “Her husband Keith, he’s so sweet. She has never said anything negative about her husband or her family.” Sherri Papini’s pal still supports her after ‘joke’


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