A week on from being discovered bound and bruised by the side of the road in the early hours of Thanksgiving, Keith Papini says his wife “literally lived through hell” and survived by imagining she was still at home with her family.
Speaking to ABC News from an undisclosed location where the family is recuperating, Keith continued, “The things she told me that she did, talking to me each time, acting like she was tucking in our kids.”
But according to some, the family’s getaway is permanent.
Last week a friend of the Papini’s was seen arriving at the family’s home to walk their two pets dogs. When questioned on the family’s whereabouts and why they had left their pets behind, the friend told The New York Post he “couldn’t answer any questions” and was “just helping out.”
A neighbour of the family, however, remains skeptical of their return, telling reporters, "I don’t think they’re ever coming back here again."
Sherri Papini was kidnapped on November 2 while she was out jogging near her California home.
22 days later, 34-year-old the mother-of-two was discovered by the side of the road bound, bruised and malnourished, flagging down cars for help.
Confusion remains around what happened during that time, but Keith was adamant that it was a violent situation.
"I can tell you that there were guns involved, and I would say it's more than that as well," he said, adding, "She didn't get into a vehicle on her own."
When asked about the conditions Sherri had been kept in, Keith says his wife was "barely" fed, revealing she lost 15 per cent of her body weight throughout the ordeal.
"When I hugged her," he began, "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," he said fighting back tears.
Now reunited with her children Tyler, 4, and Violet, 2, Sherri is said to be recovering, but slowly.
“Sherri may be free, but she is still haunted by the abduction," Keith told ABC's Matt Gutman, adding that Sherri is triggered by certain noises, lights and sounds.
“It’s not just a long road,” Keith said, “It’s something we’re never going to forget.”