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SAN FRANCISCO – Three weeks after Sherri Papini disappeared, the question of whether she was dead or alive was answered when the young wife and mother was spotted waving frantically for help along a California freeway on Thanksgiving morning.
But the mystery over what happened to her just seemed to grow stranger.
When she was found, she was battered and bruised, her hands were chained, her long blond hair had been chopped off, and her flesh had been branded with a threatening message. She told authorities she had been kidnapped at gunpoint by two women while out for a run.
Police in Northern California's Shasta County say they have no reason to doubt her harrowing account. But they have a multitude of questions, among them: Why was she abducted?
No ransom demand was ever received.
Authorities aren't saying what the threatening message said.