Sheriff Says California 'Super Mom' Was Branded with a 'Message'

Authorities are still hunting for Sherri Papini's captors as her husband describes what it was like to see her after the kidnapping.
6:42 | 11/30/16

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Transcript for Sheriff Says California 'Super Mom' Was Branded with a 'Message'
There are some with czar new details emerging in the case of Sherri papini, the mom who vanished for three weeks only to be found tied up on the side of a country road. Her husband is now speaking out about the appalling condition in which his wife was found and about rumors the whole thing may have been a hoax. Here's ABC's kayna Whitworth. Reporter: Today allege kidnapping victim Sherri Papi papini's husband Keith describing a rush of conflicting emotions after the mother of two was miraculously found alive after 22 days. In a statement to ABC news Keith says the officers warned me to brace myself. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see upon my arrival at the hospital. Her face covered in bruises ranging from yellow to black because of repeated beatings. The bridge of her nose broken. He says his wife weighed just 87 pounds. He says her appearance changed radically during the ordeal. Her signature long blond hair had been chopped off. Her now emaciated body covered in severe burns. She has been branded. He describes her being thrown from a vehicle with a chain around her waist attached to her wrists and a bag over her head after being held for more than three weeks. The brand on papini's body a possible lead. Keith said it was already beginning to heal. I'm not able to go into the specifics of what the branding is. But it could be a number of different messages. You know what the brandings were? Yes. Did they say something? It is not a symbol, but it was a message. To who? Could be a message to her, it could be a message to others. If you go deeper with this, as to why they would brand a person, I think it's probably twofold. One, it's a control thing and it's also they're trying to move her, in my view, further and further away from her identity. Reporter: In his statement Keith expressing gratitude to everyone who helped his family through this torturous journey and contempt to those suggesting her disappearance may have been some sort of hoax. When you're looking at a profile of someone that would kidnap a female and cut off her hair, what does that person look like to you? Obviously a very sick person who may have wanted to not only cut it off to change her physical appearance, but also as part of that psychological warfare, if you will, to humiliate them. Reporter: Earlier today, authorities met with papini for the third time since she's been found, trying to fug you're out who was responsible and why she was suddenly released. The only people that know that would be the abductors. Do you believe you're looking for two hispanic women and possibly others? Well, right now still the two hispanic female adults armed with a hand 51. Reporter: Shasta county sheriff's office is focused on locating two women papini said were driving a dark-colored SUV. This has the flavor of someone who has been taken for a particular purpose. Not to ransom away or to maybe even sell to somebody else. That's what makes this kidnapping extremely unusual. Chp is advising she is heavily battered and it as confirmed kidnapping. It's been six days since papini was found bound on the side of a California highway. She's described as her family as super mom. She vanished November 2nd after going out for a run. Her husband Keith immediately on edge, arriving home from work to an empty house. He began a desperate search using the find my iPhone app. He located Sherri's cell phone on the side of the road a mile from their home with strands of her hair tangled in her earbuds. I went to pick it up. At this point everything that I was going through my head, I already knew something was wrong, so I immediately called 911. Reporter: Keith passing a polygraph test early. Ruling him out as a suspect. Just four days after she disappeared, Keith shared his shock and confusion over why anyone would target his wife. Everybody loved Sherri. There's no one that doesn't like Sherri. I don't have the words, but you know, some sick type of thing. Reporter: Also his desperate pleas for Sherri's safe return. Bring her home. Just bring her home. Reporter: Then in dramatic fashion, at 4:30 in the morning, she appeared. It was dark. Just like this. Sherri papini told authorities her captors just dropped her off, right there behind me, 150 miles from her home on Thanksgiving day. Authorities say she was bound with restraints but was able to flag down a passing driver. Other drivers were calling 911. I saw a woman come out of nowhere. Frantically waving what looked like a shirt up and down. Reporter: Keith telling ABC news that shirt was actually the bag that had been placed over her head. I mean, she definitely looked frightened. And like -- yeah she had like a wide-eyed panic kind of look. Reporter: Alison Sutton was driving down this dark yolo county road when she says she passed papini and called 911. She pretty much just came out of nowhere. It startled me but I figured, you know, if somebody was desperate enough for help, that they were willing to be so close to traffic that they might get hit, that they really needed help. Reporter: At the time, Sutton didn't know who the woman was. I do feel like I got to be a witness to a small miracle. Reporter: Pettini was treated and released from an area hospital where she was reunited with her husband Keith. Together they made at least one phone call to the mayor of her hometown with an emotional thank you for the community's support. Overjoyed. Just that she was able to talk and give thanks. And Sherri of course was tearful on the phone. Even talking about it now, I'm getting tearful. I mean, there isn't anything better. Sherri has got a long road ahead of her from a psychological standpoint, as any of us would that would have experienced what it appears she has gone through in the last three weeks. Reporter: With mystery still swirling about who's responsible, this northern California community is on edge should the community be worried? The community should be concerned. I always ask them to exercise caution and quarterness. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm kayna Whitworth in Redding, California. ???

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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