Horseback riders who encountered Hannah Anderson, James DiMaggio say pair seemed out of place

Riders say teen seemed frightened

BOISE, Idaho - Horseback riders who spotted a 16-year-old Lakeside girl and her alleged abductor in a remote Idaho wilderness, leading to the suspect's fatal shooting by law enforcement and the girl's rescue, said Sunday the girl appeared scared.

One of the four riders, former sheriff and Army ranger Mark John, told reporters in Boise, Idaho that Hannah Anderson and 40-year-old James Lee DiMaggio seemed out of place, as the campers had a chance, anonymous encounter in the rugged wilderness.

"They were just like a square peg going into a round hole – they didn't fit," John said. "He might have been an outdoorsman in California, but he was not an outdoorsman in Idaho."

John's wife, Christa, said, "For us to be there at the precise time to interact with them is one chance in a trillion."

Mike Young said DiMaggio told him they had been headed toward the Salmon River, but they were headed in the wrong direction, which he considered a red flag.

They say DiMaggio did all the talking, during what little talking there was.

"No, they weren't friendly," said John. "They didn't talk."

Hannah appeared scared and also was wearing what appeared pajama bottoms or sweat pants, which was unusual, he said.

"Usually don't run in to somebody that's wearing pajamas," said Young.

Both also appeared to have brand new, shiny camping gear.

The group saw the man and girl again later at Morehead Lake and spoke with them again.

The girl had her feet in the water, and John said after attempting to joke with her, she said to herself something along the lines of "Looks like we're all in trouble now."

Mary Young said that at one point the suspect appeared to have had his arm around the girl's waist and she appeared frightened.

"She did appear frightened but I thought it was fear of the horses," she said.

Despite all the red flags, the four said the odd behavior was at least explainable until they got home and John turned on the news and saw the Amber Alert.

"I told my wife, I said, 'That is that girl we seen on the mountain,'" he said.

John then alerted a friend in law enforcement.

"When they found that car the next morning, we knew we had done the right thing," he said.

John said he was glad Hannah was found safe, and was grateful for the Amber Alert system because "without that this would not have happened."

The four riders will get an opportunity to meet with Hannah and her father Monday.

When asked what they would say to Hannah they replied:

“We are extremely happy for them that everything turned out right and that Hannah gets to go back home and be with her folks,” Mark said.  

“I just want to give her a hug because I have grand daughters and I can just imagine how happy they are to have her back,” Christa said.

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