Dr. Phil McGraw noticed a key detail investigators may have missed in one of their interviews with Sherri Papini as she lied about being kidnaped and beaten: Papini was “giggling” while “talking about being chained and tortured.”
Dr. Phil spoke to lead investigator Captain Pat Kropholler about the case of the California mother sentenced to prison last year for infamously faking her own kidnapping in 2016 and collecting victims’ assistance funds for years after she returned home. Many onlookers, including the “Dr. Phil” show itself, drew parallels between her scheme and the plot of the 2014 film “Gone Girl.”
Dr. Phil pointed out police interview footage of Papini “talking about being chained and tortured, and she’s recounting that which would be traumatic for anyone, but did you notice when she was drawing it she was giggling?”
The clip showed Papini appearing amused as she poked fun at her own drawing of “a pretty stick figure” to illustrate the room she claimed to have been held captive in.
“That’s incompatible for what you would expect for someone recounting a traumatic situation,” Dr. Phil said of her laughing.
Dr. Phil also showed interrogation footage of investigators confronting her about her lies. Papini had self-inflicted harm to make it appear as if she had been abducted and tortured when in fact she had been secretly living with a former boyfriend who assisted her with her scheme.
“The reason why you lost so much weight is because you stopped eating. The reason why you got a rash on your arm was because you cleaned [the boyfriend’s] house,” the investigator said in the tape. “The reason why the brand is because he went to the store, got the branding tools and branded you. The reason why your nose is broke is because of a hockey stick.”
Despite being confronted with evidence her ex-boyfriend had flipped, Papini stuck to her lie.
Kropholler recounted his surprise at how Papini had been given so many “off-ramps in order to tell us the truth, and she just wasn’t going to do it.”
Criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglash was also surprised that the investigators did not lose their cool about being lied to so brazenly.
“I’m outraged by how nice they were being to her,” he said. “At first I get it, but at some point I wanted – with words – for them to throw her up against the wall and say, ‘You’re done, honey, we know what’s going on.'”
Eiglash offered a theory on why Papini was willing to speak with police investigating her crime without a lawyer present.
“Because [she thinks] she’s the smartest person in the room,” he said. “She’s the orchestrator of this whole thing. This was all a master plan.”
He added, “This was all planned out from the beginning, so this was part of it. Her speaking to law enforcement was part of her thrill, part of her high promotion of herself.”
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