WARNING: Graphic details.

California mother Sherri Papini was found on the side of a road beaten, chained, with a bag over her head and weighing only 39 kilograms, her husband says.

Speaking out for the first time since Mrs Papini, 34, was found on Thanksgiving morning, 22 days after her alleged abduction on November 2, Keith Papini said he was shocked by his wife's condition when they were reunited.

"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 wrote in a statement to Good Morning America. "The mental prison I was in over the past three weeks was shattered when my questions of my wife's reality became known.


"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."

Mr Papini also said in his statement that the mother-of-two now weighs just 87 pounds (39kg) and her "signature long blonde hair had been chopped off".

He described severe burns, red rashes, chain markings and branding on her body. "She has been branded and I could feel the rise of her scabs under my fingers," he wrote.

Sherri Papini with her husband Keith and their two young children. Photo / Facebook
Sherri Papini with her husband Keith and their two young children. Photo / Facebook

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko confirmed Mr Papini's chilling details about his wife's condition after her alleged kidnapping.

"Yes, I was familiar with those details. We had not released them yet to the public," Bosenko told America's ABC News.

Mr Papini said in the statement that his wife had been "thrown from a vehicle with a chain around her waist, attached to her wrists and a bag over her head". He said she used the bag to flag down a passing motorist after managing to free one of her hands.

Bosenko said investigators had not yet determined whether Mrs Papini was "thrown" from the vehicle.

He added that investigators spoke with Mrs Papini for the second time on Monday about her ordeal.

"Our investigators did an interview yesterday with her, a follow-up interview from Thanksgiving day. They spoke to her for several hours and then late afternoon, early evening they were going over her interview and planned to interview her again today," Bosenko said.

Mrs Papini disappeared on November 2 while out jogging in her rural neighbourhood near Redding, about 260km north of Sacramento.

Sherri Papini who was found alive on Thanksgiving, three weeks after her apparent abduction. Photo / News Corp Australia
Sherri Papini who was found alive on Thanksgiving, three weeks after her apparent abduction. Photo / News Corp Australia

Her husband reported her missing after he came home from work and found that she hadn't picked up their two young children from daycare that afternoon.

After a three-week search, Mrs Papini turned up on the side of a road just before dawn on Thanksgiving morning, about 225km south of where she was last seen. She was badly beaten and chained to a "heavy object", police said.

Investigators say they are searching for two Hispanic women, armed with a handgun, who were driving in a dark SUV. Few other details have been released, with authorities citing the "critical and active investigation".

The mystery surrounding Mrs Papini's disappearance made international news after generating a widespread community search, which saw her face circulated on flyers and Facebook groups around the country, as well as through a GoFundMe page.

In the statement, Mr Papini rejected speculation that his wife, described by her family as a "super mum", was not actually kidnapped.

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

"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."

Bosenko reiterated on Tuesday morning that police had no reason to doubt Mrs Papini's story.

"So far we are investigating this as a kidnapping-abduction and everything that she is providing us thus far is indicating that," he told ABC News.

"We currently don't have a known motive or reason for this abduction," Bosenko added. "We don't know if it was targeted to her specifically, or a random abduction."

Mr Papini told GMA that he was grateful to thousands of people who reached out to his family during what he called "this torturous journey".