Sheriff: California mother found chained, beaten had message burned onto skin

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.  – A California sheriff says the abductors of a woman who was held captive for three weeks branded her with a message before she was released.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that the suspects may have been trying to humiliate Sherri Papini by cutting off her long blonde hair and branding her.

Bosenko declined to elaborate on the branding, saying only that it was a message, not a symbol.

Papini’s husband has said his 34-year-old wife was covered with bruises and burns and was chained at the waist and wrists when she was found along Interstate 5 near Sacramento on Thanksgiving.

“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 the statement to GMA. “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.”

The mother of two small children disappeared while jogging Nov. 2 near her home in Redding.