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Northern California mom missing for 3 weeks found alive

Sherri Papini (KRCR via CNN)

Sherri Papini (KRCR via CNN)

A 34-year-old mother of two has been found safe nearly three weeks after she vanished while jogging in northern California, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday.

Sherri Papini was located “out of the area,” according to the sheriff’s statement.

“We learn that she was released by her captor on a rural road near I-5 in Yolo County,” Sheriff Tom Bosenko said at a news conference. “She was bound with restraint but was able to summon help from a passing motorist.”

The sheriff’s office says Papini has been reunited with her husband. She is also in stable condition and “receiving medical clearance at an undisclosed hospital.”

An iPhone, a pair of earbuds and a few strands of what was believed to be her hair were the only leads into her possible whereabouts in days after Papini went missing on November 2.

Sheriff Bosenko said they are looking for a dark-colored SUV with two Hispanic females inside. The women are believed to be armed with a handgun.

If you have any information you are asked to call the Shasta County Sheriff’s office tip line at 530-245-6135 or the Shasta County secret witness line at 530-243-2319.

Papini’s disappearance

Neighbors told authorities Papini was last seen in the mid- to late-morning or early afternoon of November 2.

Later that day, her husband, Keith, arrived home and it was unusually quiet, he told CNN affiliate KRCR-TV at the time.

“On normal days, I would open the door and my family comes, runs and gives me a hug,” he told the station.

Papini was not home. Nor were the couple’s two children — ages 2 and 4. Her husband told the station that he called their day care center and learned the children hadn’t been picked up.

Keith Papini used an app to track down his wife’s smartphone, KRCR reported. It was down the street from their home, off Old Oregon Trail.

“That’s when I knew she had been taken or abducted, in my opinion,” he told the station. Keith Papini reported his wife missing.

‘Best mom I’ve ever seen’

Sheila Koester, Sherri’s older sister, told the station that Papini texted her husband that morning to see if he was coming home for lunch. He wrote back that he wasn’t.

Koester and Sherri’s sister-in-law, Suzanne Papini, both described the missing woman as a “supermom” who would not disrupt the routine of her children, KRCR reported shortly after the disappearance.

“She is an incredible human being,” Suzanne Papini told the station. “Best mom I’ve ever seen.”

Authorities used scent dogs and helicopters to search the area, Bosenko said. They also contacted registered sex offenders.

Keith Papini said he hadn’t told the children their mother was missing.

CNN’s Amanda Watts contributed to this report.