REDDING — It was early Thanksgiving morning when Alison Sutton says she saw a woman in trouble on the side of northbound I-5 in Yolo County.
“I have like a vague memory of a flash of her face with a definitely scared look on it,” said Sutton.
Seeing a panicked face, blonde hair and an arm waving in the air was enough to startle Sutton.
“I could have hit her, she just was really close to the side of the road, frantically waving what looked like a shirt, up and down, trying to get someone’s attention,” Sutton said.
She pulled over, called 911, but had no idea the woman she saw was Sherri Papini; the young mother who vanished during a jog near her Redding home three weeks prior.
“I feel like I, like I should have done more,” said Sutton.
Papini’s husband Keith is now opening up about the relief and horror he felt after seeing his wife for the first time.
In a statement he sent to Good morning America, he said, “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.”
Papini added that his wife’s “signature blonde hair” had been chopped and she “weighed only 87 pounds.”
“He wrote that and it’s out there, he did not talk with us about it, we were a bit surprised by it,” said Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko.
Bosenko says he wants to keep details about Papini’s ordeal private, and that his investigators are “working aggressively” to find the kidnappers, who Papini identified as two Hispanic women armed with a handgun in a dark SUV.
Investigators hope in talking to Papini, she might remember specifics about her abduction.
“Of course we’d be looking for much more detailed information regarding the suspects, the suspect vehicle, where she was held, whether it be one location or separate locations,” said Bosenko.
Bosenko says every little detail is vital; from a dent in a car to the way her kidnappers spoke.
Investigators are hunting down every clue until they get to the bottom of what Sherri Papini endured for three weeks.
The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office is still asking anyone with information to call (530) 245-6135.