REDDING, California — A California mother abducted while jogging near her home, underwent a brutal ordeal of beatings, torture and psychological abuse during the three weeks she was missing, her husband said.
In a startling written statement provided to ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” Keith Papini said his wife Sherri was covered in burns and bruises and weighed just 87 pounds when she was found alive on Thanksgiving Day.
“Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see upon my arrival at the hospital nor the details of the true hell I was about to hear,” he said. “The officers warned me to brace myself. My first sight was my wife in a hospital bed, her face covered in bruises ranging from yellow to black because of repeated beatings, the bridge of her nose broken.”
Sherri Papini, 34, was bound by chains and dumped on the side of a road when she was found by a passing motorist in Northern California’s Yolo County. She told detectives she had been thrown out of a dark-colored SUV by two Hispanic women who were armed with a handgun.
Police are still hunting for the suspects. Sherri Papini was reunited with her husband Keith at a hospital where she was brought to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
“Her now emaciated body of 87 pounds was covered in multicolored bruises, severe burns, red rashes and chain markings. Her signature long blond hair had been chopped off,” he said. “She has been branded, and I could feel the rise of her scabs under my fingers.”
“Sherri was taken from us for 22 days and suffered incredibly through both intense physical agony and severe mental torture,” he continued. “My reaction was one of extreme happiness and overwhelming nausea as my eyes and hands scanned her body. I was filled with so much relief and revulsion at once. My Sherri suffered tremendously, and all the visions swirling in your heads of her appearance, I assure you, are not as graphic and gruesome as the reality.”
Keith Papini said he was driven to writing such a detailed description of his wife’s injuries in response to speculation online that Sherri’s abduction had been a hoax.
“I understand people want the story, pictures, proof that this was not some sort of hoax, plan to gain money or some fabricated race war. I do not see a purpose in addressing each preposterous lie. Instead, may I give you a glimpse of the mixture of horror and elation that was my experience of reuniting with the love of my life and mother of our children,” he wrote.
Investigators say they have no reason to believe that Papini’s abduction had been fabricated.