Hannah Anderson has been found safe after the six-day search for the California teen came to an end on Saturday when the FBI located the 16-year-old girl and shot and killed her 40-year-old kidnapper James Lee DiMaggio at his campsite by Idaho’s River of No Return.
The FBI became aware of the apparent location of Hannah Anderson when horseback riders, when husband and wife Christa and Mark John, spotted the two riding toward Morehead Lake. the couple didn’t realize exactly who they had seen until they turned on the news Thursday night and saw the Amber Alert for Hannah. After confirming with another couple who also had seen the Hannah Anderson and James DiMaggio, Mark John called the Idaho State Police.
After receiving the tip, the FBI retreated to the area and found DiMaggio’s Nissan Versa just off of the road and covered in brush. After an extensive search, two crews spotted Anderson and DiMaggio at a campsite, right by where Mark and Christa John had seen them two days earlier. FBI hostage teams then hiked to the area and surrounded the campsite where they made sure that Hannah Anderson was far enough away before firing shots at DiMaggio, killing him. Hannah was then transported via helicopter to a nearby hospital, where she awaited to be reunited with her father on Sunday.
The discovery comes bittersweet for Brett Anderson who lost his wife, Christina Anderson, who was found dead from apparent blunt force trauma in DiMaggio’s burning home in San Diego County. The body of Hannah’s 8-year-old brother, Ethan was also found in the home, with DiMaggio being the suspect in both murders.
Although Hannah’s father did not spot any red flags, Hannah’s grandparents Ralph and Sarah Britt, noticed a growing obsession between DiMaggio and the 16-year-old girl. “He seemed to enjoy being with Hannah and her friends…more and more,” said Ralph Britt.
One of Hannah’s friends, Marissa Chavez, witnessed even more disturbing behavior from DiMaggio. She told CNN that she had been in a car with Hannah and DiMaggio a few months ago when the 40-year-old told the teen that he had a crush on her. He also told her that if he was her age that he would date Hannah. Hannah was uncomfortable at this point, but didn’t alert her parents for fear of severing their close relationship with DiMaggio, whom the kid’s referred to as “Uncle Jim”.
A few months later on August 3, Hannah Anderson went missing after cheerleading practice. Brett Anderson is still trying to come to grips with the horror that his close friend has been accused of. “I can’t fathom what happened in Jim’s head. He obviously lost it,” said Anderson.