In his first interview since his wife was found alive after being missing for three weeks, Keith Papini has described her horror ordeal.
“I ran past everybody [at the hospital] and I throw open the curtain and she was there in her bed, and her poor face,” Mr Papini told ABC’s 20/20, fighting back the tears.
“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. I got nauseated just looking at her. It’s so hard for me to see her like that.”
"When I hugged her," he added, "that was the other thing, her spine was just sticking out like a large clock with gears sticking out of it; it was very protruding."
Describing the ordeal as a living hell, he says his wife survived by imagining she was back home with her husband and two children.
“She literally lived through hell. The things she told me that she did ... she told me one time that she took some piece of cloth, and rolled it up like it was Violet (the couple’s two-year-old daughter) and she would rock it. She’s so strong,” he told reporter Matt Gutman.
“The things she told me that she did, talking to me each time, acting like she was tucking in our kids.”
Mr Papini also confirmed reports that his wife was "branded", but declined to go into detail.
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko has also confirmed Ms Papini's skin was branded with a message.
“I would think that was some sort of either an exertion of power and control and/or maybe some type of message that the brand contained,” Mr Bosenko told ABC news. “It is not a symbol, but it was a message.”
During the interview, Mr Papini described the moment she was freed from her abductors and how she desperately tried to flag someone down for help.
"She screamed so much, she’s coughing up blood from the screaming trying to get somebody to stop," Papini tells ABC’s 20/20 in an interview scheduled to air Friday. "And again just another sign of how my wife is, she’s so wonderful. She’s saying, 'Well maybe people aren’t stopping because I have a chain that looks like I broke out of prison,' so she tried to tuck in her chain under her clothes."
He described how her kidnappers, believed to be two Hispanic women, covered their faces and had a bag over his wife’s head. When they finally freed her they kicked her out of the car and kept driving.
“She was chained anytime she was in the vehicle,” he said. “They opened the door, she doesn’t know [where] because she’s got a bag over her head. They cut something to free her restraint that was holding her in the vehicle, and then kind of pushed her out of the vehicle.”
The driver who found Ms Papini on the side of the road has also given an interview describing the strange scene.
"I see this blonde woman waving what looks like a brown flannel shirt up and down desperately trying to flag someone down,” Alison Sutton told KOBI-TV. “I could have hit her because she was so close to the side of the road."
Police are still investigating details surrounding the abduction and are searching for the suspects.