Truth and consequence


7 days ago

Kidnapping is a serious crime, and offenders are penalized with imprisonment. Alleged kidnap victims, however, can also get punished.

California mother Sherri Papini, 40, went out to jog in November 2016 and failed to return home. Three weeks later, she was found injured and alone on a highway about 225 kilometers away from her house, and told police she had been abducted and tortured by two masked, Spanish-speaking women, CNN reported.

Police launched a manhunt for the alleged kidnappers, but failed to find them after four years. It would take a high-tech investigation in 2020 to find a lone suspect.

In a somewhat similar case, Jeane Gayrama, a 19-year-old college student and resident of Barangay Langgao in Cabucgayan, Biliran province, told police unidentified men forced her inside a white van in Barangay Santissimo Rosario Poblacion in Naval town last 20 August, Biliran Blogs reported.

Biliran police also solved the case by finding one suspect in the abduction.

The follow-up investigation on Papini’s kidnapping involved DNA found in her clothing. Forensic experts then used genetic genealogy to identify the source of the evidence.

The genetic material was traced to a family member of Papini’s former boyfriend, and investigators confirmed it after the former and latter’s DNA matched in a test.

Papini’s ex then confessed to investigators that he helped her “run away” from an abusive relationship and housed her at his place in Southern California, according to CNN, citing a 55-page affidavit of the woman’s case.

When the kidnap victim insisted she was abducted, authorities charged Papini with faking her abduction in March. The following month, she pleaded guilty to making false statements.

On Monday, a court sentenced Papini with 18 months imprisonment followed by 36 months of supervised release, the United States Department of Justice said.

Meanwhile, investigators of Gayrama’s kidnapping found inconsistencies in her statements. Testimonies of witnesses and CCTV footages also indicated no incident of abduction in the area where the woman claimed she was pushed into a white van, leading them to conclude that she fabricated her story. She recanted her statement three days after claiming she was kidnapped.

On 13 September, the Naval police charged Gayrama with publishing false news in violation of the Revised Penal Code and Cybercrime Prevention Act before the provincial prosecutor’s office despite her apology over the hoax.

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