The husband of Sherri Papini, the mother of two who went missing for three weeks, has released a statement describing the moment he was reunited with his wife and the brutal condition she was found in.
“My first sight was my wife in a hospital bed. Her face covered in bruises ranging from yellow to black because of her repeated beatings. The bridge of her nose broken,” Keith Papini told Good Morning America in a statement. “She has been branded and I could feel the rise of her scabs under my fingers.”
When he was finally reunited with his wife, he says she weighed just 87lbs (approximately 39kgs) and that her long blonde hair had been chopped off.
“Her now emaciated body of 87 pounds was covered in multi colored bruises, severe burns, red rashes, and chain markings. Her signature long, blonde hair had been chopped off.”
He also described how she had been thrown from a vehicle with a chain around her waist and her wrists and a bag over her heard.
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko confirmed Ms Papini’s injuries to GMA, but did not confirm whether she was “thrown” from the vehicle.
The mother-of-two was abducted while out for a jog on November 2 and was missing for 22 days before her rescue. Her family had been pleading for her return, with her husband appearing on GMA begging for anyone with information to come forward.
“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,” Keith continued.
“The mental prison I was in over the past three weeks was shattered when my questions of my wife’s reality became known.”
Since Ms Papini’s rescue, questions have been raised over the mysterious abduction, however Mr Papini slammed the speculation as “flat-out wrong”.
“Rumors, assumptions, lies and hate have both been both exhausting and disgusting,” he continued in the statement. “I understand people want the story, pictures, proof that this was not some sort of hoax, plan to get money or fabricated race war. I do not see a purpose in addressing each preposterous lie.”
At the stage the police are echoing this, Sheriff Bosenko confirming they have no reason not to believe Ms Papini’s story.
“So far we are still investigating this as a kidnapping abduction. And everything that she is providing us thus far is indicating that,” he said. “We currently don’t have a known motive or reason for this abduction. We don’t know if it was targeted to her specifically or a random abduction.”
Police are still searching for her abductors, who Ms Papini reports are two women driving a dark-coloured SUV, believed to be armed with a handgun.