California teen rescued, her alleged abductor killed in Idaho wilderness

Updated 10:56 PM EDT, Sat August 10, 2013
03:12 - Source: CNN
Friend of kidnapping victim speaks

Story highlights

Hannah Anderson is rescued in the Idaho wilderness, authorities say

That's where an FBI tactical agent shot and killed her alleged abductor James DiMaggio

The alleged captive's mother, brother was found dead after a fire at DiMaggio's California home

The teen appeared to be OK when she was helicoptered out

(CNN) —  

A massive manhunt that spanned 1,000 miles ended in gunfire in the Idaho wild late Saturday afternoon – shots that ended the life of the family friend who was suspected of abducting 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and killing her mother and brother.

The teenager was rescued near Morehead Lake, Idaho, where an FBI tactical agent killed her alleged kidnapper, James DiMaggio, around 5:20 p.m (7:20 p.m. ET), authorities said.

“It’s now healing time,” Brett Anderson, Hannah’s father, said in a message to CNN.

Hannah Anderson had last been seen in San Diego County, California, at her cheerleading practice August 3. The bodies of her mother, Christina Anderson, and 8-year-old brother, Ethan, were found the next day about 45 miles east in DiMaggio’s Boulevard house; lab tests were needed to identify the boy because his remains were so badly charred.

That horror spurred a manhunt, which zeroed in on central Idaho after two critical clues: the discovery of DiMaggio’s blue Nissan Versa outside the city of Cascade and a sighting of the pair by horseback riders.

Hundreds of law enforcement agents scoured 300 square miles of rough terrain, hampered by the smoke from nearby wildfires.

Late Saturday afternoon, they spotted the pair’s campsite near Morehead Lake, Idaho. But the topography was so steep, helicopters had to drop authorities off far away from the camp.

The pair’s campsite was first spotted from the air, then law enforcement personnel moved in on the ground, said San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore. He said that there had been a “confrontation,” though authorities speaking a short time later in Idaho declined to say whether there had been a shootout.

At some point, a “confrontation” ensued between authorities and DiMaggio, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said. The confrontation ended when an FBI tactical agent shot and killed the murder and kidnapping suspect.

“Obviously we would have liked for Mr. DiMaggio to surrender and face justice in the court of law,” Gore said. “But that’s not going to be the case.”

Search intensified after car spotted

DiMaggio’s car was found after John reported he had a brief conversation with two campers in the Idaho wilderness on Wednesday.

The horseback rider was not aware of the manhunt at the time, but he called the Amber Alert tip line after he saw a news account that night and realized the pair matched the description of DiMaggio and Hannah Anderson, according to Ada County, Idaho, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Andrea Dearden.

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The rider’s impression was that the pair “seemed odd,” though he wasn’t alarmed, she said.

“They did speak and exchange pleasantries. I don’t think there was a lot of information exchanged,” Dearden said. “He left the conversation believing they were camping in the area.”

The rider said the man and girl were on foot, hiking with camping gear, Dearden said.

DiMaggio’s car was found unoccupied Friday – hidden by brush, with its license plate removed – spurring authorities to intensify their search in that area.

This massive effort included law enforcement personnel from a host of federal, state and local agencies, with Dearden saying they’d “use every single resource possible.” Still, despite the numbers, they faced a daunting task given the expansive, rugged nature of the area.

Ultimately, DiMaggio was spotted and killed not far from where he left his car, said Andrea Dearden, spokeswoman for Idaho’s Ada County sheriff’s office.

His alleged captive didn’t appear to have suffered significant physical injuries, though she was nonetheless helicoptered from the scene to a hospital, the sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

“Hannah is safe, and that was our first priority from the very beginning,” Valley County, Idaho, Sheriff Patti Bolen said.

She should be reunited Sunday morning with her father in Idaho, according to Gore.

In his text to CNN, Brett Anderson admitted to feeling a range of emotions upon hearing of his daughter’s rescue soon after his wife and son’s death.

“I am nervous excited saddened 4 my wife and son and worried what my daughter has been through,” he wrote.

Father of missing teen pleads for daughter’s release

Witness: DiMaggio had crush

A friend of Hannah Anderson on Saturday provided a clearer picture of the relationship between DiMaggio and the teen.

Marissa Chavez told CNN that she was in a car with Hannah and DiMaggio a few months ago when the 40-year-old told Hannah he had a crush on her.

He followed it up by saying if he was her age, he would date Hannah, Chavez said.

Hannah was unnerved by the comments, but did not tell her mother because she did not want to ruin the close relationship that her parents had with DiMaggio, Chavez said.

After that, however, Hannah did not want to be alone with DiMaggio, Chavez said.

In an earlier episode, Chavez recalled a trip that DiMaggio and Hannah took to Hollywood. The trip was supposed to be for one week, but Hannah told Chavez that they came back after two days because DiMaggio was upset that she wasn’t paying enough attention to him.

From anguish to elation

CNN’s Mariano Castillo, Alicia Eakin, Michael Martinez and AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.