SHOCKING new details have emerged of the investigation into the month-long abduction of mum Sherri Papini.
Although the California mother-0f-two said she was taken by two Hispanic women, a man's DNA has also been found on her clothes.
It comes as cops released sketches of the two female suspects, who both wore bandanas to mask their faces, news.com.au reported.
Sherri, 35, had been missing for three weeks when she was found battered, branded and half-starved on the side of a road.
She was snatched while on a jog near her home in California before being found 150 miles away on November 24 last year.
But in their first public briefing in more than 11 months, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office revealed revealed that in the lead up to her disappearance, Sherri exchanged text messages with a man in Michigan.
Sergeant Brian Jackson told reporters that Sherri and the male acquaintance texted each other plans to meet when he was in California on business.
Detectives flew to Michigan to interview him and ruled out his involvement in the case, he said.
Sherri and her family have been in hiding since she was discovered bound and beaten by the side of a highway in Yolo County more than 200km from where she last seen jogging near her Redding home.
The petite blonde had lost a significant amount of weight and bore the scars of having been branded - a skin modification sometimes employed by sex traffickers to signify ownership.
In an explosive follow up interview with The Bee, Sgt Jackson admitted several inconsistencies in Sherri's story had been identified.
Among them was Sherri’s claim she had cut her right foot during a fight with the younger of the two female attackers fight. Investigators found no evidence of such a wound.
She told detectives she had slammed the women’s head into a toilet when she was allowed to leave the room to take a shower.
Sgt Jackson said: "Obviously, in any investigation, especially something of this nature where there’s trauma and it’s a prolonged thing, it’s not abnormal to have inconsistencies, because recall and circumstances in people’s perception.
Sgt Jackson said detectives found DNA from two people - a man and a woman - during analysis of the clothes Sherri was wearing when she was found but refused to say whether they came from hair or bodily fluids.
"We’re not releasing exactly what the samples came from, so that when we get a chance to interview some suspects, we can maybe have an edge on them," he said.
The detective did reveal that the male DNA did not match that of her husband Keith, who has been ruled out as a suspect and has passed at least two voluntary lie detector tests.
Sgt Jackson revealed Sherri’s hair had been cut to shoulder length during her captivity and that the branded message - which police have refused to reveal details of - had been stamped into her right shoulder.
She told detectives that just before her release, she heard her captors arguing, followed by the sound of a gunshot.
The younger attacker then took her from the room where she was held captive and dropped her off near the roadside where she was found.
In the 911 tape released overnight, a distressed Keith Papini can be heard telling the operator that he came home from work to find his wife and children were not in the house.
He states no one had picked up his kids from daycare, and that Sherri had texted him that morning, hoping to meet at home for lunch.
He tells the dispatcher he used a iPhone locator app to try track her down, only to find her phone discarded along with a pair of headphones near a dirt trail near their home.
"I just drove down there, and I found her phone with her headphones because she started running again, and I found her phone and it’s got her hair ripped out of it, like in the headphones," he says, breathing heavily. "I’m totally freaking out, thinking that somebody, like, grabbed her."
According to police, Sherri's phone had been found carefully placed with the screen up and headphones - tangled with a few strands of Ms Papni's hair - neatly coiled on top. At the time they stated there was nothing to suggest a struggle.
A version of this story originally appeared on news.com.au