Private Investigator Hired to Find Sherri Papini Discusses Case After Her Arrest

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Cody Salfen will never forget the moment back in 2016 when he learned missing Redding mother, Sherri Papini, was found alive and safe.

"I remember graphically when I heard the news, that Thanksgiving Day that I was really relieved and really excited and happy for her family," Salfen said.

Salfen is a private investigator based out of the Bay Area.

Papini's husband, Keith, had hired him to figure out what happened, find her and bring her back home.

So, when she showed up weeks later, Salfen's services were no longer needed. But questions always remained.

"The fact that this case was never really resolved, it was definitely a source of thought for me," Salfen said.

Over five years later, some of his questions have finally been answered.

The FBI said Sherri Papini was never kidnapped and her story of being held by two Hispanic women at gunpoint was a lie. Papini when she was reported missing was staying with a former boyfriend in Southern California.

The injuries and "brand" on her shoulder when she was found were self inflicted, officials said.

"I'll say this, I was very surprised when I learned that she had been criminally charged," Salfen said.

Surprised, but finally some answers for Salfen and her family.

Sherri Papini, a Northern California mother who went missing back in 2016, then resurfaced weeks later saying she'd been kidnapped, has been arrested for allegedly faking her own abduction. Audrey Asistio got ahold of court documents that reveal what the FBI thinks really happened.

"So, in a sense that it seems there is some tangible closure to the case -- I'm happy about that," Salfen said. "I'm also saddened that her family, especially her children, have to deal with all the turmoil this mother created."

Turmoil, not only for the family, Salfen said, but also for everyone involved.

"I think it was a tremendous waste of government resources and taxpayer money," Salfen said.

Charging documents show Papini was also reimbursed more than $30,000 by the California Victim's Compensation Board, based on her false story -- Salfen has tracked it all.

"I hope that people will continue to remain vigilant, but also understand that this was not an abduction," Salfen said. "This was not some human trafficking scheme that victimized Sherri Papini. This was a single person, Sherri Papini, that created an elaborate scheme to disappear and she got caught."

Papini now faces several charges, including lying to federal agents and defrauding the state's victim compensation board.

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