Sherri Papini's husband demands sole custody of kids in divorce (2022)

The husband of disgraced California 'supermom' Sherri Papini is demanding sole custody of their two children and says she hasn't seen them for nearly a month, can reveal.

According to divorce papers exclusively obtained by, Papini initially told her two children that her arrest was a 'mistake' and has left them 'traumatized' after lying to them for five years about her disappearance.

Estranged husband Keith, 38, also writes that Papini has 'significant mental health issues' and is 'not in a position to provide good parenting' to Tyler, nine, and Violet, seven.

He also wants to be handed all of their property, including exclusive use of their rented home in Redding, California, their three car, a Ford Majestic motorhome and a Correct Craft Wakeboard boat.

Keith is also asking to be relieved of responsibility for Papini's debts which include two unsecured loans from her mother-in-law Kathleen, 56, and 'any obligations arising from her criminal behavior'.

Keith Papini is seeking sole custody of their two kids, Tyler, nine, and Violet, seven, in his divorce from estranged wife Sherri Papini (pictured in an old family photo)

Court papers seen by reveal Keith (pictured in 2017) claims Sherri is 'not in a position to provide good parenting' to their son and daughter

Appearing before a judge last Monday, Papini, 39, broke down in tears as she admitted faking her own abduction six years ago

Papini, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and one of lying to a federal officer last week and is facing several years in jail and a $300,000 fine when she is sentenced on July 11.

The mom-of-two vanished in November 2016 and reappeared 22 days later claiming she had been kidnapped by two Hispanic women who starved and beat her.

But on March 3 she was arrested over the hoax with police saying that she spent the time away with ex-boyfriend James Reyes in Costa Mesa, California, and inflicted her injuries on herself.

The divorce papers show she and Keith split up the same day and describe how she was 'literally tackled' by law enforcement officers during the arrest outside her children's school.

Keith's statement, included in the divorce documents, continues: 'In March 2022, Sherri Papini was literally tackled by law enforcement officers while arresting her – all in the immediate presence of our children.

'They were again traumatized. After she was released from jail, she assured them that the arrest was all a mistake.

'The children have now learned that their mother lied to them about her disappearance, lied to them about how she was abused by two Hispanic women, and lied to them about her arrest.

Video: Sherri Papini's husband files for divorce after mom admits to faking kidnapping l GMA

'The fact that their mother lied to them on such a major issue is something they, and I, are having a hard time dealing with.

'We, both children and I, need time to recover and stabilize.'

Keith also goes on to describe her disappearance as 'heartbreaking', saying: 'The whole problem started in November 2016 when Sherri left our children at daycare and simply disappeared.

A court hearing on the order will take place next month

In his declaration filed last week, Keith claimed the couple's two kids were 'traumatized by her disappearance'

The father-of-two went on to reveal the kids have since learned their mother 'lied to them about her disappearance'

'Both I, and especially our children, were traumatized by her disappearance and I spent much time and money trying to find my wife.

'The trauma inflicted on our children at the unexpected loss of their mother was heartbreaking.'

He concludes the statement by saying: 'I am asking that the court help me protect my children from the negative impact of their mother's notoriety.'

The divorce documents were filed last Wednesday – two days after Papini's tearful guilty plea in a Zoom hearing.

The previous week, she admitted to making up her story during a court hearing where she issued a public apology for her actions.

She said: 'I am so deeply ashamed of myself for my behavior and so sorry for the pain I've caused my family, my friends and all the good people who needlessly suffered because of my story and those who worked so hard to try to help me.

Video: More On Sherri Papini's Husband Filing For Divorce

'I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done.'

Papini has not returned home since her release from jail and is currently living with a relative. According to Keith, she has already missed one scheduled visitation with her children.

Appearing before a judge last Monday, Papini broke down in tears as she admitted faking her own abduction six years ago.

The Redding, California mom offered no explanation for her elaborate hoax during the half-hour court hearing.

She answered only 'Yes, Your Honor,' and 'No, Your Honor' in a trembling voice as Senior U.S. District Judge William Shubb outlined the charges and evidence against her.

'I feel very sad,' she said tearfully when Shubb asked her how she was feeling.

The mother of two who claimed she was kidnapped in 2016 before suddenly reappearing three weeks later almost 200 miles away from where she was last seen, claimed she was held captive for 22 days by two Hispanic women during that time.

Papini's antics were eerily similar to those of the main character in Gillian Flynn's smash-hit thriller novel Gone Girl, which was later turned into a thriller starring Rosamund Pike as a vanishing wife.

Police say she was instead with her ex-boyfriend, James Reyes, who she tricked into harboring her by claiming she wanted to escape her abusive husband.

She had been charged with lying to federal investigators and fraudulently obtaining $30,000 from the state's victim compensation board.

In a deal with prosecutors reached last week, Papini agreed to plead guilty.

Sherri Papini is seen after she was released from Sacramento County Main Jail in March

Prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence on the low end of the sentencing range, estimated to be between eight and 14 months in custody, down from the maximum 25 years for the two charges.She is scheduled to be sentenced July 11.

Papini also agreed to pay restitution topping $300,000. That includes the cost of the search for her that covered several Western states, and the subsequent investigation into the 'two Hispanic women' she said had kidnapped her at gunpoint.

In a statement issued through her attorney, Papini apologized for the pain she caused her family and friends.

Video: Sherri Papini's husband files for divorce hopes to protect children from

'I am deeply ashamed of myself for my behavior and so very sorry for the pain I've caused my family, my friends, all the good people who needlessly suffered because of my story and those who worked so hard to try to help me.

'I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done,' Papini said in the statement, as reported byABC10.'I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done.'

Papini had told a wild tale of having been abducted and held captive by two gun-wielding Hispanic women, but no arrests were ever made in a seemingly motiveless crime that baffled investigating officers.

Despite her detailed account of the abduction to authorities, skepticism had long surrounded the claims.

The married Papini was finally arrested last month following the six-year investigation once it came to light that she had actually spent the time she claimed to have been kidnapped at the residence of an ex-boyfriend.

After her arrest she struck a plea deal with prosecutors in which she agreed to plead guilty to two counts of mail fraud and lying to a law enforcement officer - charges that carry maximum sentences of 20 years and five years, respectively.

When Papini was found, she had bindings on her body and self-inflicted injuries including a swollen nose and blurred 'brand' on her right shoulder. She had other bruises and rashes on many parts of her body, ligature marks on her wrists and ankles, and burns on her left forearm.

A 'missing' sign for Sherri Papini, near the location where she was believed to have gone missing. Papini, whose disappearance and mysterious reappearance set off a frantic three-week search more than six years earlier has admitted it was a hoax

Sherri Papini with her husband Keith on their wedding day. The 22 days she claimed she was kidnapped she in fact spent with an ex-boyfriend,James Reyes

She had told cops that the two Hispanic women had branded her on one shoulder, had cut her long blonde hair short and had broken her nose.

'She appeared to have lost a considerable amount of weight. She had been branded on her right shoulder, although the exact content of the brand was indistinguishable.

'Papini's nose was swollen, she had bruises on her face, rashes on her left arm and left upper inner thigh as well as other parts of her body, ligature marks on her wrists and ankles, burns on her left forearm, and bruising on her pelvis and the fronts of both legs.'

The married mother of two kept lying about it as recently as August 2020 when in fact there was no kidnapping, she admitted in her guilty plea.

Papini has offered no rationale for why she did it.

Her attorney, William Portanova, said last week that he doubts even she knows.


He suggested 'a very complicated mental health situation,' and said her long-delayed acceptance of responsibility and punishment is part of the healing process.

Papini said Monday that she has been receiving psychiatric care for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder ever since her return - more than $30,000 worth of treatment for which she billed a state victim compensation fund and which is now part of her restitution.

'It is a mistake to assume mental illness is the cause of unusual behavior,' said Dr. Ian Lamoureux, a forensic psychiatrist and frequent expert witness who teaches at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic.

There could be a rational, if mysterious, explanation, Lamoureux said, though he cautioned that he has not examined Papini and many factors in the case remain unknown to the public.

James Reyes told police that Papini caused self-inflicted injuries while staying with him, including hitting herself to create bruises and burning herself on her arms

James Reyes, the ex-boyfriend who hid Sherri Papini, was spotted by for the first time since her arrest in March

The area where Sherri Papini was found near the I-5 freeway outside of Yolo, California

Prosecutors say her faked kidnapping wasn´t impulsive, and that she planned it for more than a year without her husband knowing. The former boyfriend told investigators they didn´t have sex while she stayed with him.

Papini's organization and planning would seem to make conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression an unlikely explanation, said Lamoureux, who specializes in complicated criminal and civil cases.

She may have expected that the kidnapping hoax would bring her 'fame and fortune,' he said.

And she did benefit financially: Aside from the victim compensation, she must repay nearly $128,000 in disability payments. Separately, a GoFundMe campaign raised more than $49,000 to help the family.

As a possibly related factor, Lamoureux has researched the false hero or 'pathological hero' phenomenon that takes advantage of society's treatment of victims as heroes. Those who fake their own victimization may be seeking recognition or popularity, and if mental illness is involved it may suggest a narcissistic or histrionic personality disorder.

Another possible explanation is that she faked her kidnapping to avoid some other adverse consequence, he said, typically something like a divorce or being fired, though Papini was a stay-at-home mom.

Lamoureux said manufacturing a crisis may be a way for those with fragile egos and poor coping skills to seek to prevent the bad outcome from happening.

Video: Sherri Papini's Husband Files For Divorce Citing Irreconcilable


1. Sherri Papini busted: California mom’s kidnapping faked, hiding with her ex-boyfriend says FBI
(True Crime Daily)
2. The Real Life "Gone Girl": Sherri Papini | dreading
(dreading (crime and psychology))
3. "Supermom" Sherri Papini Admits to Kidnapping Hoax
(Crime Stories with Nancy Grace)
4. Jennifer Faith Begged For Help To Catch Husband's Killer But Plead Guilty To Murder-For-Hire Plot?!
(Kendall Rae)
5. INSANE narcissistic mom LOSES IT when son refuses to come home
(BOZE vs. the WORLD)

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Tyson Zemlak

Last Updated: 05/28/2022

Views: 5231

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tyson Zemlak

Birthday: 1992-03-17

Address: Apt. 662 96191 Quigley Dam, Kubview, MA 42013

Phone: +441678032891

Job: Community-Services Orchestrator

Hobby: Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Metalworking, Fashion, Vehicle restoration, Shopping, Photography

Introduction: My name is Tyson Zemlak, I am a excited, light, sparkling, super, open, fair, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.