Sheriff: Hannah Anderson unaware mother, brother killed until rescue
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The father of a Lakeside teen who was rescued in Idaho
last weekend after being kidnapped by a family friend who also allegedly
murdered her mother and younger brother asked the public Monday to grant his
family privacy while his daughter recovers from her “tremendous, horrific
“Give us our time to heal and grieve,” Brett Anderson said at an
afternoon news conference during which he also thanked law enforcement agencies
for their work in safely recovering his 16-year-old daughter, Hannah, and the
media for publicizing the search for the teen.
He also urged people to closely heed missing-child Amber Alerts, which
he credited for leading authorities to his daughter and her abductor, 40-year-
old James Lee DiMaggio of Boulevard.
Sheriff's officials disclosed today that the girl, who went missing Aug.
3, was unaware her captor had killed her mother and brother while being held
The El Capitan High School junior only learned of the murders when her
rescuers told her after a FBI agent fatally shot DiMaggio during an exchange of
gunfire in Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area over the weekend,
San Diego County Sheriff's Bill Gore said.
“It is clear, from the information that we've received, that she was
under extreme duress,” Gore said. “She was taken out of the county, out of
the state, clearly against her will.”
Hannah was rescued near Morehead Lake in the rugged area about 80 miles
northeast of Boise late Saturday afternoon. Her father flew to Idaho to reunite
with her on Sunday, and she was back home as of this afternoon, Gore said.
Authorities began looking for the pair in the 2.3-million-acre
wilderness preserve after four people riding horses there reported that they
had talked to a man and a teenage girl who matched the descriptions of
DiMaggio, 40, and Hannah.
DiMaggio's blue 2013 Nissan Versa was found about five miles from where
the riders spotted the two Friday morning.
Three deputy federal marshals in a helicopter DiMaggio at a campsite,
leading to the deadly shooting.
“We have learned from debriefing and interviewing Hannah up in Idaho
that DiMaggio did have a shoulder weapon and fired at least one shot,” Gore
said. “The FBI will conduct an extensive shooting investigation. The results
of that will be made public later.”
Brett Anderson, who was separated from Hannah's mother, has asked the
public for prayers as he and his daughter heal from both the kidnapping
experience and the deaths of 44-year-old Christina Anderson and Hannah's
brother, Ethan, 8.
The badly burned bodies of the mother and son were found Aug. 3 along
with the remains of their family dog in the fire-gutted log-cabin home in
Boulevard where DiMaggio lived. Investigators believe the suspect torched the
home before fleeing with the girl.
Authorities said her mother died of blunt force trauma. Ethan's cause of
death has not been determined.
Authorities have disclosed no suspected motive for the crimes, but
family friends told reporters that DiMaggio seemed to have developed an
infatuation with the teenager that made her uncomfortable.
Gore said aiding in Hannah's recovery is now a top priority in the case
for local authorities.
“The kidnapper, the murderer, is dead,” the sheriff said. “Our focus
now is getting Hannah all the resources, the help she needs to get through this
extremely traumatic ordeal that she's been through. Plus, let's not lose sight
of the fact that she's lost her mother and her brother, which she was not aware
of until she was recovered up in Idaho.”