AssociatedPress (via YouTube)
A weeklong search for a missing California teenager ended when FBI agents rescued the girl and shot and killed her apparent kidnapper at a campsite in Idaho. Mark John spotted the pair and says 'red flags' went up.
Update 2:13 p.m.: Teen, abductor stood out in Idaho wilderness
Almost from the moment he laid eyes on 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and her abductor, James Lee DiMaggio, former Idaho county sheriff Mark John was swept with the feeling that something just didn't seem right about the pair.
Initially it was the lack of openness on the trail, a reluctance to engage in the polite exchange of banter or adventures like so many other recreationists John has encountered during his various horseback excursions into Idaho's rugged backcountry.
Then John and his partners on horseback puzzled why Anderson and DiMaggio were hiking in the opposite direction of their stated destination, the Salmon River.
But more than anything, it was their gear, or lack of it. Neither was sporting hiking boots or rain gear. The 40-year-old DiMaggio, described as an avid hiker in his home state of California, was toting only a light pack. It even appeared Anderson was wearing pajama bottoms.
"They just didn't fit," said the 71-year-old John, who retired as Gem County sheriff in 1996. "He might have been an outdoorsman in California, but he was not an outdoorsman in Idaho. ... Red flags kind of went up."
At a news conference Sunday in Boise, John and his three riding mates shared the kind of details from their encounters with Anderson and DiMaggio that helped focus the massive manhunt and rescue effort on a southwest corner of wilderness in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, a 3,600-square-mile roadless preserve in the heart of Idaho.
On Saturday, after searchers spotted the pair by air, two highly-specialized FBI hostage teams moved in on ground, ultimately rescuing Anderson and killing DiMaggio in a shootout at their encampment at a remote, alpine lake.
Anderson was immediately transported to an unidentified hospital. She was expected to be reunited with her father, Brett Anderson, earlier Sunday, but authorities did not disclose any details of their meeting.
DiMaggio is also suspected of killing Anderson's mother and brother at his home in Southern California.
On Sunday, FBI agents returned to process the scene at the camp at Morehead Lake, about 8 miles inside the wilderness border and 40 miles east of the central Idaho town of Cascade.
But authorities made clear Sunday that the rescue may have taken longer if not for the chance encounter with John and the other riders, who included John's wife Christa, 68, and Mike Young, 62, and his wife, Mary Young, 61.
The four riders had a second encounter with Anderson and DiMaggio later Wednesday, this one at the lake as they were getting ready to head back down the trail. The Youngs and Johns recalled seeing Anderson soak her feet in the lake and again avoid interaction. Still, nothing about their behavior raised suspicion that DiMaggio was wanted for murder and kidnapping.
"If she was sending us signals that she was in trouble, we didn't key in on it," said Mary Young.
It wasn't until Thursday afternoon when the Johns returned home and saw the girl's photographs on the news that they made a connection. After confirming with the Youngs, Mark John immediately called Idaho State Police, setting off the investigation in Idaho.
On Friday, police found DiMaggio's car, hidden under brush at a trailhead on the border of the wilderness area. Details about the operation that ended in Hannah's rescue are being released slowly.
Update 11:23 a.m.: Rescued teen Hannah Anderson awaits reunion with father in Idaho
A California teen missing for more than a week after she was abducted by a man suspected of killing her mother and brother has been rescued, her captor killed, and a reunion with her father was expected Sunday at an Idaho hospital.
But for law enforcement investigating the ordeal, there is still plenty of work to be done.
FBI agents are processing evidence at the campsite in central Idaho's Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness where they first discovered 16-year-old Hannah Anderson 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.
Law enforcement agents first spotted two people who looked like Anderson and DiMaggio on Saturday afternoon, as they flew over the wilderness area in a plane, according to a statement from Ada County Sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Dearden.
The air was filled with smoke blown in from distant wildfires, and that made both flying and seeing the ground tough, Dearden said. The law enforcement commanders decided to send in an FBI Hostage Rescue Team immediately to get Hannah while they could.
The mountainous area is extremely 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.
The FBI moved the teen 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.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Mary Rook from Salt Lake City said the FBI will continue to work with law enforcement in both Idaho and California as the case transitions back to the San Diego Sheriff's Department.
Anderson appeared to be uninjured and was taken to an Idaho hospital where crisis counselors and health care providers were assisting her. Her father was expected to arrive in Idaho on Sunday to reunite with her.
"We will make sure she gets as much care as possible, physically and emotionally," said Dearden.
The FBI said it was sending a team to investigate what unfolded before, during and after the shooting.
The location wasn't far from what had been the last known sighting of the pair. A horseback rider called authorities Thursday night to report that he had seen two people who resembled Anderson and DiMaggio with camping gear on a trail near the lake. The rider, whose name wasn't released, didn't realize they were subjects of a massive search until he got home and saw news reports. He was expected to speak to media Sunday.
The case began when the charred bodies of Hannah Anderson's mother, ChristinaAnderson, 44, and the teen's 8-year-old brother, Ethan Anderson, were found in DiMaggio's burning house outside San Diego, near the Mexico border.
DiMaggio was close to the family. Christina Anderson's husband, Brett Anderson, has described him as a best friend and said the children thought of him as an uncle.
Authorities have said DiMaggio had an "unusual infatuation" with Hannah, although the father said he never saw any strange behavior.
An Amber Alert was issued, and tips led investigators to Oregon after DiMaggio and the teen were reportedly spotted there.
But it wasn't until the Idaho horseback rider called in his tip that investigators found a major lead — DiMaggio's car, hidden under brush at a trailhead on the border of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in central Idaho.
San Diego County Sheriff William D. Gore announced Hannah's rescue and DiMaggio's death from a news conference in California. He said members of his office notified Hannah'sfather, Brett Anderson, of her rescue.
"He was very relieved and very excited and looking forward to being reunited with his daughter," Gore said.
The father described a range of emotion in a text message to CNN.
"I am nervous excited saddened 4 my wife and son and worried what my daughter has been through," he wrote to the network. "It's now healing time. Keep us in your prayers."