Tearful husband reveals how his wife survived 22 days of captivity – she pretended a rolled up cloth was her baby

The husband of a California woman who was abducted and tortured revealed harrowing details of her ordeal in his first television interview since she was found alive.

Keith Papini told ABC’s 20/20 of the moment he heard his wife, Sherri Panini’s, voice for the first time since her kidnapping.


“It was my wife screaming in the background, yelling my name,” he said. “I’m panicked but I’m happy because at this point, this is the first time I’ve heard her, I know she’s alive.”

He described her abduction from the day she was picked up by two women with guns as she was out jogging 22 days before Thanksgiving.


Papini said the captors drove around with Papini for about 2 hours, speaking to each other in Spanish the majority of the time on that first day.

But her ordeal only got worse. Much worse.

“She literally lived through hell. The things she told me that she did,” he told reporter Matt Gutman. “She told me one time that she took some piece of cloth, and rolled it up like it was Violet (the Papini’s two-year-old daughter) and she would rock it.”


When he first saw his wife in the hospital, after she was found chained on the side of the road, weighing only 87 pounds, covered in bruises and branded.

“I ran past everybody and I throw open the curtain and she was there in her bed, and her poor face,” Papini said.


“I just hugged her, I just held her, I felt like I held her for 20 minutes. I was so happy that she was there, just kissing her all over,” he said. “It’s so hard for me to see her like that.”

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Carmine Sabia


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