People are over the world are still in shock over Sherri Papini’s miraculous Thanksgiving return three weeks after she was allegedly abducted, held captive, and tortured.
But one family living in the same Redding, California area can’t help but wonder, Why couldn’t our daughter’s case have had the same happy ending?
Papini’s case is one that still baffles investigators. Three weeks after she disappeared while jogging, Papini was discovered badly beaten on the side of the road—but alive.
This case is almost identical the disappearance of another young woman named Tera Smith.
Like Sherri, Tera also vanished during an evening jog in the Redding area. In fact, she and Sherri went to high school together years ago.
But there’s one major difference between the two cases: Tera was never found.
16-year-old Tera went missing on August 22, 1998, after going out for an evening jog in Redding.
From an outside perspective Tera’s case almost parallels Sherri’s. Both women were young, blonde, attractive joggers, who were seemingly kidnapped at random.
Tera’s parents, however, think they’ve known all along who kidnapped their daughter—and he still lives in Redding.
According to The Daily Mail, Tera’s parents believe Tera’s martial arts instructor, Troy Zink, is responsible for her disappearance.
Zink, who was a 29-year-old married father at the time, was reportedly having an affair with Tera.
Entries in Tera’s journal show that she had been making plans to dump Zink right before she mysteriously went missing.
Zink, now 47, was reportedly only interviewed once by police in connection to Tera’s disappearance.
“We were very idle when Tera went missing, Tera’s dad, Terry, said of the police investigation into his daughter’s case. “We just expected them to do everything, they were the professionals and we weren't, but I do think they made some mistakes and hopefully learned from their mistakes.”
When he was first questioned, Zink told police that he gave Tera a ride the night she went missing, but when she asked him for a small loan of $2,000, he allegedly refused and dropped her off at an intersection.
Tera’s parents are certain that Zink is responsible for their daughter’s disappearance, and they can only hope that investigators may one day arrest him.
“It is heartbreaking and very frustrating,” said Terry. “The guy still lives in Redding. Almost 20 years have passed and he has gotten more comfortable, changed his name and thinks that people have forgotten. We haven't forgotten.”
As for Sherri, Tera’s parents are thrilled that she’s back home with her family.
“Yes we are thrilled and so happy for the Papini family, we don't want to detract from that at all,” said Terry. “The fact that after the initial emotion and elation and happiness for her being found, we admit, we had those feelings of ‘too bad ours didn't turn out that way,’ but we're so grateful that Sherri's back.”