Sherri Papini’s husband, Keith Papini, recalls, in his first sit-down interview with ABC News’ 20/20 on Friday, December 2, getting the call from a California Highway Patrol officer and his wife after she went missing for 22 days.
In a sneak preview of the interview, Keith tells ABC News’ Matt Gutman that he could hear his wife “screaming in the background, yelling my name.”
As previously reported, Sherri was abducted while on a jog in Redding, California, on November 2. After she failed to pick up her two kids at daycare and return home that day, Keith alerted the police. She was found on Thanksgiving Day on a highway 150 miles south of their home. Also previously reported, Keith revealed Sherri was badly bruised, had her hair cut off and was “branded” by her captors. In a statement to police, Sherri described her captors as two Hispanic women.
Keith told Gutman their first phone call was obviously “very emotional.”
“I already know it’s her. I can tell her voice,” he recalled thinking. “I get on the phone and [said], ‘Oh, my God, honey.’ And of course she’s screaming. It’s very emotional. And [I said], ‘I love you, I love you, I love you, oh, my God, you’re here. You’re back. Where are you?’ And then the phone gets taken away from her.”
Keith shared that the call was “super quick,” but that he felt relieved.
“I’m panicked, but I’m happy because at this point, this is the first time I’ve heard her voice,” he added. “I know she’s alive.”
During a press conference on Wednesday, November 30, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko confirmed that Sherri has been cooperating with authorities as they continue their investigation into her abduction.
Bosenko told reporters that Sherri described her captors as being two Hispanic women with guns. According to The Sacramento Bee, Sherri said one had thin eyebrows, pierced ears and long curly hair, while the other had straight black hair and thick eyebrows.
“All the information that we have right now, we have no reason to believe that she is making this up,” Bosenko told the Bee, confirming they still have no clear motive for the kidnapping. “We do not know if it’s related to sex trafficking or the reason for her abduction, or was she specifically targeted, or if this was a random abduction.”
Keith’s 20/20 interview airs Friday, December 2, on ABC at 10 p.m. ET.
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