The Perfect Wife Documentary

Sherri Papini initially made headlines after she was allegedly kidnapped while out for a jog near her house in Redding, California, on November 2, 2016. The made-for-TV narrative went like this: the then-34-year-old was kidnapped by two aggressive women before being freed three weeks later, on Thanksgiving.

Six years later, the mother of two made headlines again after admitting that her abduction was a fabrication. She was sentenced to 18 months in jail for lying to a federal officer. The saga is the topic of Perfect Wife: The Mysterious Disappearance of Sherri Papini, which premiered on Hulu on June 20. (Papini will tell her side of the tale in a 2025 docuseries on Investigation Discovery.)

Hulu’s limited series consists of three episodes and includes interviews with Papini’s now-ex-husband, Keith; his sister, Sheila Koester; Papini’s best friend, Jennifer Harrison; Shasta County Sheriff Kyle Wallace; FBI special agents Denis Farmer, Courtney Lannto, and Peter Jackson, among others.

A $50,000 reward was offered for Papini’s safe return and hundreds of people volunteered to help in the massive search to find her, bringing nationwide media attention to the case.

“With his investigation, it felt like the more people you talked to, the more you found that you were back to square one,” Wallace recalls. “I read Sherri’s journal. I just tried to let the information tell me what it is; in all evidence, that’s what you’re truly looking for: the truth within it.”

Papini was discovered on the side of a highway, about 150 miles from her home.

“I just remember Kyle Wallace entering the room where I was [and saying], ‘She only wants to talk to you.'” She was behind a curtain, and I pulled it back to look at her, and the way she looked at me, in that instant, made me think she was lying,” Keith recalls in the documentary.

When Papini returned, she received almost $30,000 from the California Victim Compensation Board until 2021. After being arrested on federal charges in 2022, she entered a plea deal and was compelled to repay more than $300,000, including restitution for the costs of the police investigation.

Sherri Papini’s docuseries, “Perfect Wife: The Mysterious Disappearance of Sherri Papini,” is only accessible on Hulu. Eligible new subscribers can watch the documentary for free during a 30-day trial of the ad-supported plan. After that, the service will automatically renew at $7.99 per month.

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