Authorities say missing teen Hannah Anderson safe, James DiMaggio killed

SAN DIEGO - A double-murder and kidnapping suspect from Boulevard was fatally shot by a federal officer in an Idaho forest preserve Saturday, after which the teenage girl he allegedly kidnapped was safely rescued, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said.

LINK: Timeline of events in search for DiMaggio, children (mobile: http://bit.ly/16DXQIc)

James Lee DiMaggio, 40, was shot and killed by an FBI tactical agent at about 4:20 p.m. at the north end of Morehead Lake, Idaho after an arrest attempt, Gore said.

The family friend he allegedly had taken captive last weekend, 16-year-old Hannah Anderson of Lakeside, was then rescued, the sheriff told news crews during an early-evening briefing. She appeared unharmed, he said.

10News has learned that two San Diego-based U.S. Marshals were part of the team that located DiMaggio's campsite by plane early Saturday morning and coordinated the insertion of FBI SWAT teams.

Gore declined to immediately provide any other details on the dramatic end to the six-day search for DiMaggio and the El Capitan High School student, including whether the suspect died in an exchange of gunfire.

Hundreds of law enforcement personnel had descended on the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area, east of Cascade, after a car owned by DiMaggio was found abandoned near a trailhead there Friday morning.

That search was induced on Wednesday, when four people riding horses in the wilderness area chatted with a man and a teenage girl they later found out matched the descriptions of DiMaggio and Hannah Anderson, who the four said appeared unharmed and not under duress.

The fugitive's sedan was found about five miles from where the riders encountered the pair.

An Idaho bomb squad searched DiMaggio's car over concerns that he might have booby-trapped it before ditching it in brush and fleeing on foot with Hannah Anderson, authorities said.

Authorities believe DiMaggio killed the girl's mother, 44-year-old Christina Anderson, and 8-year-old brother, Ethan, last weekend at the suspect's back-country home off Old Highway 80, then torched the log cabin-style residence.

Firefighters found the victims' remains and the body of their dog in the embers of the home.

The deceased boy remained unidentified until Friday, when analysis of DNA extracted from bone marrow confirmed that the remains were those of Ethan.

Authorities have determined no suspected motive for the slayings of Anderson, a longtime friend of DiMaggio's, and Ethan, who reportedly thought of the suspect as an uncle, as did his older sister.

Friends of Hannah's, however, have told reporters DiMaggio at times seemed infatuated with the girl, and that she had been feeling increasingly uncomfortable about his attitude toward her.

Throughout the day, about 250 investigators with from an array of agencies – including the FBI and state and local police from across the country – combed a roughly 300-square-mile area in the remote wilderness of central Idaho.

The teams included "highly trained" personnel, according to Andrea Dearden, a spokeswoman for the Ada County Sheriff's Office in Idaho.

Speaking at a late afternoon news conference attended by a throng of national media in nearby Cascade, Idaho, Dearden said Hannah was taken by a helicopter to an undisclosed hospital.

Hannah is with FBI victim specialists who plan to reunite the teen with her father soon.

"Hannah is safe. That was our first priority from the beginning," said Valley County Sheriff Patty Bolen.

"We wanted it to end safely, we wanted her home, and that's exactly what happened," Dearden said.

Dearden was reluctant to give out much information as investigators piece together details of the teenager's rescue and DiMaggio's death. She did say that it happened "relatively close" to the campsite.

An FBI shooting review team is on the way to Cascade from bureau headquarters in Washington D.C. to review what happened. This is standard procedure any time an FBI agent discharges a firearm in the line of duty.

More will be revealed after the FBI team finishes their probe into the shooting, special agent Jason Peck said at the news conference.

According to a news release issued late Saturday evening, law enforcement commanders decided to send the FBI Hostage Rescue Team in to get Hannah.

The topography was so steep that helicopters had to drop off two HRT groups far from the lake. It took those teams more than two hours to hike through the steep topography to get to the lake and surround the campsite.

They also did not want to alert DiMaggio they were coming. Once the teams set up, they waited until DiMaggio and Hannah separated and moved in. The HRT members then moved Hannah to an area where a helicopter could get her out safely.

Hannah's father, Brett Anderson, said in a broadcast interview that he "almost collapsed" when he heard his daughter was rescued.

"I have very mixed emotions," Anderson said in reference to the loss of his wife and son. "But something good came out of something indescribably horrible."

Ethan's godfather, Eric Robert Campbell, called DiMaggio's deeds, "the worst betrayal imaginable."

"We had one short hope left," Campbell said. "We finally have something to celebrate."

 

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