Just one look at Sandy Vinge's face tells the story of the brutality she endured. She still has no hearing in one of her ears and has double vision in one eye, but is speaking out for the first time since the ordeal, hoping other senior citizens will hear her story and protect themselves.
Her face may be swollen and bruised, but Sandy Binge's bright smile and spirit is indestructible.
""I just asked God to send me help or just let me die," she said.
In an interview with "Inside Edition", the 75-year-old says she was choked unconscious in her La Mesa home, duct-taped and thrown in the back of her car by a man who had sold her a vacuum cleaner earlier in the month.
Investigators have identified that man as 19-year-old Jeffrey Nelson. His two accomplices, 18-year-old Luis Osborne and 19-year-old Antoinette Baker are accused of beating and driving around the county with Vinge in the back of her car for more than 26 hours without any food or water.
"I tried to call out for help and I guess the person didn't hear me and so he got real mad and socked me real hard in my face," Vinge said.
"When I first saw her in the hospital, I was like, I didn't even recognize her," Vinge's son Daniel Allen said.
Thoughts of her family, friends and Don, her late husband, helped Vinge survive the tough and uncertain night in the trunk. She recalls the sense of relief she felt when her kidnappers were pulled over for speeding.
"When I heard the sheriff say 'Get down on the ground and put your hands up in front of you' then I knew I was saved," she said.
After a few days in the hospital, Vinge is cracking jokes and is as spunky as ever. She says she's happy to be home with the ones she loves, and thankful to be alive.
"I'm so fortunate to have so many friends and such a nice family. I'm lucky, that I'm alive," she said.
Nelson, Osborne and Baker have been charged with kidnapping, torture, robbery and elder abuse. All three have pleaded not guilty and will be back in court on Dec. 29. If convicted, they could face life in prison.