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Amber Alert case: Rescued teen reunited with father in Idaho

August 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
California teen Hannah Anderson was reunited with her father Sunday, a day after her apparent captor was killed.

Family members said Hannah Anderson and her father, Brett Anderson, had been reunited. Hannah's father issued a statement expressing relief that his daughter is safe.

The ordeal may appear to have come to a close, but not for law enforcement officials investigating the case.

FBI agents are processing evidence at the campsite in central Idaho's Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness where they first discovered the teen and the man suspected of abducting her, 40-year-old James Lee DiMaggio. Details about the operation that ended in Hannah's rescue are being released slowly.

Sheriff's officials said that law enforcement agents first spotted two people who looked like Hannah and DiMaggio on Saturday afternoon, as they flew over the wilderness area in a plane.

Ada County Sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Dearden said that visibility was poor due to blowing smoke from distant wildfires. Officials decided to send in an FBI Hostage Rescue Team immediately to get Hannah while they could.

The mountainous area is very steep, and the closest point where the helicopters could drop the team was more than a two-hour hike away. The agents crept close to the camp, waited until DiMaggio and Hannah separated, and then moved in.

Authorities moved Hannah to an area where she could be picked up by a helicopter. The FBI won't release details about what happened between DiMaggio and law enforcement at the campsite until an investigation is complete, other than to say DiMaggio was shot and killed.

Hannah appeared to be uninjured and was taken to an Idaho hospital, where crisis counselors and health care providers were assisting her.

The location of the campsite was not far from where the two were last spotted. A horseback rider called authorities Thursday night to report that he and other horseback riders had seen two people who resembled Hannah and DiMaggio with camping gear on a trail near the lake.

At a news conference Sunday in Boise, the four riders - two men and two women - said they came across Hannah and DiMaggio Wednesday morning. One rider, Mark John, said the two weren't friendly and that the girl was wearing pajamas or sweatpants. John said when he returned home he saw an Amber Alert that had been sent out for Hannah, and he contacted police.

The nationwide manhunt began nearly a week ago. DiMaggio is suspected of killing Hannah's mother, 44-year-old Christina Anderson and her 8-year-old brother, Ethan. Their bodies were found Sunday in DiMaggio's burning house near San Diego. An Amber Alert was issued after Hannah disappeared.

DiMaggio, 40, was a longtime friend of the family, but friends say Hannah had been uncomfortable about his attitude toward her. He had admitted being infatuated with the teen. Marissa Chavez, Hannah's friend, says he once admitted to having a crush on the teen.

In 1989, DiMaggio's father was arrested for breaking into a home and holding a 16-year-old girl at gunpoint, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. The elder DiMaggio committed suicide on Aug. 10, 15 years ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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