Watch: 'She was chained' - husband of woman kidnapped and tortured gives gripping details of wife's capture



1 NEWS | Associated Press

The husband of a California mum who was captured and branded by two female captors has revealed she could not get anyone to stop and help her after she was released from captivity. 

The woman, Sherri Papini, was abducted while jogging and was branded by two female captors who kept their faces covered during the three weeks they held her.

Now, police are speculating that she may have been a victim of sex trafficking.

"She screamed so much, she's coughing up blood from the screaming trying to get somebody to stop," an emotional Keith Papini told ABC News' 20/20, while fighting back tears.

The Spanish-speaking suspects kept the head of 34-year-old victim Ms Papini covered at times, limiting her ability to provide descriptions so authorities could draw sketches, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said.

The abductors may have been trying to humiliate and wear down Ms Papini by branding her and cutting off her long hair, Bosenko told "Good Morning America".

"I would think that that was some sort of either an exertion of power and control and/or maybe some type of message," Mr Bosenko said.

At the news conference later in the day, the sheriff said authorities still didn't have a motive for the abduction.

"We do not know if she was a specific target or if this was a random abduction."

Bosenko declined comment on where Papini had been branded or where she was held by her captors.

He said he was not sharing all the details of the investigation and asked for the public's help in finding the two women.

Authorities are trying to do a sketch of the suspects based on Papini's limited recollections.

Mrs Papini told investigators the younger woman had long curly hair, thin eyebrows and a thick accent.

The older suspect had straight black hair with some gray and thick eyebrows.

The sheriff warned residents to remain cautious until the suspects were identified.

Mrs Papini, the mother of two small children, disappeared while jogging on November 2 near her home in Redding, about 225km north of Sacramento.

She was released near Interstate 5.

Her husband Keith Papini has said his wife was covered with bruises and burns and was chained at the waist and wrists when she was found.

In a written statement to "Good Morning America," he also addressed social media chatter doubting his wife's story of abduction and assault.

"Rumours, assumptions, lies, and hate have been both exhausting and disgusting," Mr Papini wrote.

The sheriff said the case was puzzling for several reasons, including motive.

He said no ransom demand was made and the Papinis were of modest means.

Mr Papini said his wife weighed just 39kg and the bridge of her nose was broken when she was tossed from a vehicle along the interstate.

Her hands were restrained and a bag was over her head.

Bosenko said Sherri Papini couldn't recall any details about her abduction when first questioned soon after being found.

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