A key piece of evidence in the kidnapping case of Sherri Papini looks like it could have been planted, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko intimated to ABC News.
That piece of evidence is a photo taken by Sherri's husband Keith, who found his wife's iPhone lying on the side of a road, along with a pair of headphones.
The headphones had strands of Sherri's blonde hair tangled in them. This image might lead some to believe the phone was dropped in some sort of struggle.
However, in a conversation with ABC News reporter Matt Gutman, Sheriff Bosenko implied that the photo Keith sent to police wasn't exactly a compelling piece of evidence.
When asked by Gutman whether the manner in which the phone was pictured created any suspicion that the evidence was staged, Bosenko conceded,
It looked like it could've been placed there, along with the earbuds being placed on top of the phone screen.
This particular exchange between Gutman and the sheriff can be seen around the three-minute mark in the video below.
At the very least, the sheriff's comment speaks to the mystery surrounding the story of Sherri Papini.
As Gutman points out, the photo of the woman's phone and the hair tangled in the headphones were the only pieces of physical evidence in the case. They were found and provided by Keith himself.
However, Gutman also noted that Papini had also demanded a lie detector test to clear his name. He passed, and this led to him not being considered a prime suspect.
In addition, Sheriff Bosenko quelled the idea of the kidnapping being a hoax during an appearance on "Good Morning America" last Tuesday.
When he was asked by George Stephanopoulos whether he had any reason to doubt Papini's story, Bosenko said,
Absolutely none. So far, we are still investigating this as a kidnapping abduction, and everything that she is providing us thus far is indicating that.
Sherri Papini, a 34-year-old mom of two, disappeared on November 2 after going out for a jog in Redding, California. She was found over three weeks later, on Thanksgiving Day.
She has told the police that her captors left her on the side of the road.
According to ABC News, police are now searching for two women, based on descriptions provided by Papini.
Citations: ABC News