Kidnapped mother Sherri Papini 'beaten, tortured and branded' after three-week ordeal

Husband says rumours of a hoax are 'preposterous lies'

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The Independent US

A Californian woman was kidnapped, then branded, chained up and tortured before her captors dumped her at the side of a road on Thanksgiving.

Sherri Papini, 34, went missing on November 2 after going for a jog. Her husband Keith feared the worst when he found only her phone, earbuds and strands of her hair about a mile from their house.

After visiting her in hospital Mr Papini released graphic details of his wife's condition including that she suffered repeated beatings and a broken nose, and had even been branded during her three-week ordeal.

"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 told Good Morning America.

He revealed that she weighed just 39kg and added: "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.

"Her signature long blond hair had been chopped off. She has been branded, and I could feel the rise of her scabs under my fingers.

"She was thrown from a vehicle with a chain around her waist, attached to her wrists and a bag over her head. The same bag she used to flag someone down once she was able to free one of her hands."

Mrs Papini was found some 250km away from where she was kidnapped.

The details of her injuries were confirmed by Shasta County sheriff Tom Bosenko. The branding may have been "some sort of either an exertion of power and control and/or maybe some type of message", he told ABC News.

Mr Papini said an "exhausting" wave of rumours about his wife's kidnapping had included suggestions it was a hoax, but called them "preposterous".

He said: "We are not going to allow those people to take away our spirit, love or rejoice in our girl found alive and home where she belongs.

"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."

Mr Bosenko said the kidnappers were described as two Hispanic women who spoke in Spanish most of the time. His department has not been able to establish a motive for the abduction, it was reported.