New revelations of the torture a California jogger endured while she was missing for three weeks following an apparent abduction include a message burned onto her skin by her captors, according to a local sheriff.
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko spoke out about the branding Wednesday, nearly a week after Sherri Papini was found, alive, on the side of the road with her hands bound about 150 miles away from her home.
Bosenko told ABC News: “I would think that that was some sort of either an exertion of power and control and or maybe some type of message that the brand contained. It is not a symbol, but it was a message."
He did not reveal, however, the message or the type of marking made on the 34-year-old mother’s body.
“She has been branded," her husband Keith said in a statement to ABC News. "I can feel the rise of her skin under my fingers."
He added: "Her now emaciated body of 87 pounds was covered in multicolored bruises, severe burns, red rashes and chain markings.”
The kidnappers also chopped off her long blonde hair, starved her, and broke her nose.
"It could have been to intimidate and keep the victim alive," former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole told Inside Edition. "It could have been to demonstrate that when she was released and found that these are very dangerous individuals."
She said that Papini's surprise release after three weeks is "one of those inconsistencies that makes no sense."
O'Toole added: "You hold onto someone for a long period of time. There is no contact with the family, so it doesn’t sound like money is an issue. There were injuries to the victim and an injury pattern that sounds severe. At the end of all of that you enable the release of this person."
The former FBI profiler also said investigators will speak to her to determine if these were people Papini knew or was it just some people who “crossed her and saw her by herself and then [she] became targeted.”
Missy McArthur, mayor of the jogger’s hometown of Redding, California, is one of the few people to speak to Papini since she was found alive Thanksgiving morning.
The mayor said Papini was “tearful, thankful and I think emotionally just completely distraught and relieved, relieved that she was out of that horror situation. I mean, it was an emotional phone call.”
Papini’s account of having been kidnapped was boosted by a witness, who says she thinks she saw the "scared" and "subdued" victim sitting in an SUV at a truck stop two days before her release.
Christine Everson told DailyMail.com: "I walked over and her window was down a little. I said: 'You look like that woman who was abducted here in Redding. Are you ok? Are you being held against your will? Do you need me to call 911 right now?' "
Everson says Papini said "thanks" and put her head down. Two men were with the jogger, presumably kidnappers.
Everson said she also notified police about her conversation.