Idaho Kidnapping: Hannah Anderson Found After Tip Leads Authorities To Kidnapper James DiMaggio’s Wilderness Hideout [PHOTOS]
The Idaho kidnapping of 16-year-old Hannah Anderson ended Saturday after a tip from a horseback rider led authorities to kidnapper James DiMaggio's backwoods hideout. FBI agents later pursued the kidnapper and his victim, and the Idaho kidnapping ended with DiMaggio being shot and Anderson being rescued.
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Retired sheriff Mark John and three other horseback riders encountered Anderson and DiMaggio in the rugged back country of Idaho's The Frank Church -- River of No Return Wilderness, a 2.3 million-acre preserve in the state's center. The Los Angeles Times reports that the horseback riders exchanged pleasantries with 40-year-old DiMaggio, who had camping gear with him. The chance encounter, which took place last Wednesday, kicked off a search for DiMaggio that had a fatal conclusion for the kidnapper.
"They just didn't fit," 71-year-old John, who retired as Gem County sheriff in 1996, told reporters on Sunday of seeing Anderson and DiMaggio. "He might have been an outdoorsman in California but he was not an outdoorsman in Idaho ... Red flags kind of went up."
One of the "red flags" John described was that Anderson was wearing pajama bottoms and that the two didn't look well equipped for the rough Idaho terrain. Examiner reports that DiMaggio also said he and Anderson were headed for Salmon River, a popular place for whitewater rafting, but were actually moving in the opposite direction of the river.
When John, who was horseback riding with his wife and another couple, returned home last Thursday, and saw the news of the Idaho kidnapping on TV, he and his wife recognized the picture of Hannah Anderson as the girl they had seen in the wilderness. That's when they called the police to report the Idaho kidnapping.
The following day, investigators came across what they believed was DiMaggio's abandoned blue Nissan Versa hidden under logs and brush at a trailhead in No Return Wilderness.
The search proved promising after a plane spotted DiMaggio and Anderson at a campsite near Morehead Lake, close to where John and the other riders encountered the pair just days before. FBI agents were flown in and dropped in the wilderness by helicopter, then hiked two hours to the campsite, which they surrounded.
When Anderson was a safe distance from her abductor, FBI agents opened fire, gunning down DiMaggio and bringing the Idaho kidnapping to a bitter sweet end.
The Huffington Post reports that Anderson was rushed to a hospital where crisis counselors and health care providers assisted her. The teen was not seriously injured during the rescue operation.
"We will make sure she gets as much care as possible, physically and emotionally," Andrea Dearden, a spokeswoman from the Ada County Sheriff's Department, told reporters.
The Idaho kidnapping began August 4 after the charred remains of Hannah Anderson's brother, 8-year-old Ethan Anderson, and her mother, 44-year-old Christina Anderson, were found dead in DiMaggio's smoldering home near the California-Mexico border outside San Diego. Sixteen-year-old Hannah Anderson was missing.
DiMaggio, who was a close family friend and had known Hannah Anderson for years, was suspected in the grisly murder.
"He was Uncle Jim. We had known him for years when Hannah was born," Ralph Britt, the grandfather of 16-year-old Hannah Anderson, told NBC amid tears.
Hannah Anderson's father, Brett Anderson, was reunited with his daughter early Sunday.
While it is still unclear why exactly DiMaggio killed Hanna Anderson's mother and brother and then kidnapped the teen, one friend of Hannah Anderson's recalls a time DiMaggio confessed his love for Hannah Anderson.
"We were driving home, and he just said that he had a crush on her," Marissa Chavez, a friend of Hannah Anderson's, told CNN. "He said ... 'If you were my age, I'd date you.'"
This encounter occurred a couple of months ago on the way home from a gymnastics meet.
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