Hannah Anderson makes first public appearance since kidnapping
LAKESIDE (CNS) – Rescued teenage kidnapping victim Hannah Anderson made
her first known public appearance Thursday since her ordeal ended, attending a
crowded fundraiser for her family at a hometown restaurant.
The 16-year-old El Capitan High School student arrived at the Boll
Weevil on Winter Gardens Boulevard in Lakeside with her father in the late
afternoon and walked straight inside with a group of companions.
Hannah — who was abducted Aug. 4 by a longtime family friend believed
to have murdered her mother and younger brother and was freed six days later by
FBI agents in an Idaho wilderness preserve — made no comments to the throng of
reporters and camera operators outside the business.
Her father, however, offered a few brief statements, thanking all those
attending the benefit.
“This is a small community that we're part of, and the community came
together, putting on this great fundraiser for Hannah and … her future and
healing,” Brett Anderson said.
He also expressed gratitude once again to law enforcement, involved
citizens and the news media for their help in finding his daughter.
“So, other than that, Hannah sends her love,” he said. “She's doing
good day by day, and we'll just keep moving forward from here. Thank you very
The father said the money raised during the restaurant event would help
meet “a lot of expenses in front of us.”
“I'm not a rich man by any means,” he said, adding, nonetheless, that
he might donate any unneeded monetary donations to agencies that fight
exploitation of children.
“And right now, we're just working for her future and (to) get her
settled, and that's about it for right now,” he said.
In response to a question, Anderson said his daughter had been spending
her time with family and friends since her homecoming.
“And she's just happy to be here,” he said.
The man accused of kidnapping Hannah and killing her family members, 40-
year-old James Lee DiMaggio of Boulevard, was fatally shot Saturday afternoon
by a federal hostage-rescue team in a forest preserve about 80 miles northeast
Authorities began looking for Hannah and DiMaggio — whom she and Ethan
had known their entire lives and referred to as “Uncle Jim” — in Frank
Church River of No Return Wilderness Area after horseback riders reported
spotting and chatting with them there.
DiMaggio's blue 2013 Nissan Versa was found hidden under a pile of brush
and logs Friday morning near a trailhead about five miles from where the
riders had come across the pair two days earlier.
Hannah only learned about the murders of her family members following
her rescue in the rugged Idaho back country, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore
Authorities have not disclosed a suspected motive for the crimes, but
family friends told reporters that DiMaggio seemed to have developed an
infatuation with the teenager, a change that made her uncomfortable.