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Sherri Papini Screamed So Much ‘She Was Coughing Up Blood’ Trying to Get Help

Horrifying new details. Sherri Papini was in dire straits when she found herself released onto a highway in California on Thanksgiving Day after being held captive for 22 days, her husband, Keith Papini, said in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ 20/20 set to air on Friday, December 2.

“She screamed so much,” Keith said of Sherri’s harrowing experience trying to flag down help on the highway before she was found around 4:30 a.m. “She said she was coughing up blood from the screaming, trying to get somebody to stop.”

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According to Keith, the 34-year-old mother of two recalled one of her alleged captors cutting her free “of some restraint that was holding her into the vehicle” before pushing her out and leaving her on the side of the road. At the time, Sherri had a bag over her head, so she was unable to see anything that was happening.

Keith Papini
Keith Papini on ’20/20.’

“Sherri obviously has one free hand that still has some kind of, something like a hose clamp, if you will, and then took, obviously, the bag off her head,” Keith recounted. “She, at this point, has no idea where she’s at, and gets up and basically tries to find help, runs to a house that didn’t have any lights on, and didn’t look what she said was very inviting, looked scary, and obviously if you could imagine her state of mind at this point.”

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After unsuccessfully seeking help at a nearby house, Sherri finally ran onto the road to try to wave down a car. A woman named Alison Sutton saw a distressed Sherri and pulled off the highway to call 911.

Keith Papini and Sherri Papini
Keith and Sherri Papini with their children.

“I saw a woman frantically waving what looked like a shirt up and down, trying to flag somebody down,” Sutton told ABC News. “I was startled to see her. It was dark and she pretty much just came out of nowhere. If I had swerved to the right at least a little bit, I would have hit her with my car. She had, like, a wide-eyed, panicked kind of look. I figured if she was willing to risk being hit by a car trying to get somebody’s attention that she must really need some help.”

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Investigators are currently searching for Sherri’s alleged captors, who Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko described as two Hispanic female adults armed with a gun and driving a dark SUV.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Sherri described her captors as being two Hispanic women with guns, and who sometimes wore masks. The paper reports that she described one woman as having thin eyebrows, long curly hair and pierced ears. The other woman reportedly has straight black hair and thick eyebrows. Both women, according to Sherri, spoke in Spanish.

Watch the full story on ABC News’ 20/20 on Friday, December 2, at 10 p.m. ET.

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