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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sherri Papini faced a judge Wednesday afternoon after admitting she faked her kidnapping in 2016.

FOX40 cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom, but Papini was visibly emotional when the judge addressed her. She didn’t speak as she and her attorney, William Portanova, walked into the federal courthouse.

Portanova had to comfort her a few times during the hearing and after she pleaded guilty to mail fraud and making false statements.

“It’s never too late to do the right thing,” Portanova said.

Shasta County Sheriff’s Office’s Capt. Brian Jackson was the sergeant in charge of the major crimes unit from the beginning of the case.

“It didn’t have to take this long,” Jackson said. “Like with any other investigation, we started just working with whatever information we had.”

In 2016, the 34-year-old mother of two went missing after going on a jog near her home in Redding.

About three weeks later, Papini was found along Interstate 5 in Yolo County branded, bound and bruised.

She claimed she had been kidnapped by two women.

“From 2016 all the way through 2020, yeah, we were looking for the persons responsible,” Jackson recalled.  

Papini pleaded guilty to lying to a federal officer and mail fraud stemming from her requests to receive victim’s compensation.

“Even when we confronted her with it, when detectives and FBI agents confronted her, she still didn’t give us the information or come clean,” Jackson said.  

During the court hearing, Papini was visibly upset and spoke very softly when the judge addressed her. Following the hearing, Papini had no comment for FOX40, but her attorney had a few words.

“A lot of pain, a lot of sorrow,” Portanova said.  

Papini’s guilty plea will officially be heard by a judge on Monday morning.