‘Amber Alert’ over — suspect killed; kidnapped teen safe

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AMBERUPDATE: Amber Alert suspect, James Dimaggio has been killed. Kidnapped teen, Hannah Anderson, is safe.
The nearly week-long manhunt finally ended late Saturday afternoon in the deep woods of Cascade, Idaho.

Searchers had been combing the Idaho wilderness for them since a horseback rider spotted them Wednesday morning.

DiMaggio’s blue Nissan Versa was two days later, with its license plate removed, roughly 60 miles northeast of Cascade, at a trail head leading into the wilderness.

Their campsite was spotted from the air Saturday, and ground units were sent in leading to the deadly confrontation.

Friday night, police identified the remains of Anderson’s 8-year-old brother Ethan found in DiMaggio’s burned out San Diego house.

The body of Ethan’s mother, Christina Anderson, had been identified earlier as a second victim of that August 4th fire.

Police believe Dimaggio killed them both.

A friend of Hannah Anderson provided a clearer picture of the relationship between DiMaggio and Hannah.

Marissa Chavez said that she was in a car with them a few months ago when the 40-year-old told Hannah he had a crush on her.

He followed it up by saying if he was her age, he would date Hannah, Chavez said.

Hannah was unnerved by the comments, but did not tell her mother because she did not want to ruin the close relationship that her parents had with DiMaggio.

After that, however, Hannah did not want to be alone with him.

Chavez also recalled a trip that DiMaggio and Hannah took to Hollywood. The trip was supposed to be for one week, but Hannah told Chavez that they came back after two days because DiMaggio was upset that she wasn’t paying enough attention to him.

“I don’t think she would have gone willingly with him at all,” she said.

Hannah was last seen August 3 at her cheerleading practice. Relatives reported the mother and children missing the next day, sparking an Amber Alert.

As of Saturday evening, Hannah is said to be in good shape, and is heading to the hospital for an evaluation.  She will be reunited with her father Sunday morning.

The burned body of a child found in a house in California has been identified as that of 8-year-old Ethan Anderson, the brother of missing Hannah Anderson and the son of the woman killed in the house, the San Diego County sheriff said Friday.
The body had been so badly burned that carrying out a DNA test proved difficult, authorities said.
The latest Amber Alert information says murder suspect, James DiMaggio, and his alleged teenage captive, could be headed to Canada. This, after a man on horseback in the middle of the Idaho wilderness had a brief conversation with two campers. The rider’s realization later that he may have been talking to DiMaggio and Anderson, had focused a nationwide manhunt for the pair on the rugged mountain area in central Idaho.

The horseback rider saw the man and girl Wednesday and struck up a brief conversation with them, Andrea Dearden, spokeswoman for the Ada County (Idaho) Sheriff’s Office, said Friday.

He was not aware of the manhunt at the time, but he called the Amber Alert tip line after he saw a news account that night and realized the pair matched the description of DiMaggio and 16-year-old Hannah Anderson, she said.

The rider’s impression of the pair was “it seemed odd but nothing as alarming,” Dearden said.

“They did speak and exchange pleasantries. I don’t think there was a lot of information exchanged,” she said. “He left the conversation believing they were camping in the area.”

The rider said the man and girl were on foot, hiking with camping gear, Dearden said.

Dearden appeared to be correcting authorities’ earlier reports that the suspect and girl were spotted by more than one horseback rider.

Investigators set up checkpoints where DiMaggio and Hannah were believed to be traveling in the River of No Return Wilderness area, about 15 miles outside Cascade, Dearden said.

The Idaho Statesman reported that searchers from more than a half-dozen local, state and federal agencies combed more than 300 square miles of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area on Friday — on foot, vehicles and in the air by helicopters.

Authorities haven’t yet evacuated any homes or businesses, she said, adding, “We have those access points secured.”

The horseback rider’s tip moved the national manhunt for DiMaggio and Hannah, who was last seen Saturday afternoon at her cheerleading practice, to the Idaho mountains.

Authorities in Southern California have been looking for Hannah and her 8-year-old brother, Ethan, after their mother was found dead inside DiMaggio’s burned-out house in the San Diego area Monday. A second body was found in the house, which may be Ethan’s.

DiMaggio was a close friend of the Anderson family, and father Brett Anderson has appealed to DiMaggio to let his daughter go.

Friday morning, investigators found DiMaggio’s car hidden by brush, its license plates removed, about six to eight miles from where the rider spotted the girl, authorities said. They confirmed the car’s ownership by its vehicle identification number, he said.

The vehicle will be examined by bomb and arson technicians to ensure it’s not rigged with explosives, Gore added. His office has said evidence found at the burned house indicates that explosives may be in the car.

The horseback rider said the man and girl appeared to be in good health, Gore said.

Authorities deem DiMaggio a dangerous suspect because he is accused of killing Hannah’s mother, Christina Anderson, and possibly Ethan as well.

A search of DiMaggio’s burned-down house led law enforcement to this conclusion: “We don’t hold anything past this person,” as one official put it.

“We think that he’s capable of anything at this point,” said Capt. Duncan Fraser of the San Diego Sheriff’s Office.

Based on what the sheriff’s investigators have seen, there is evidence that the fire and kidnapping of Hannah was a “very well-planned event,” Fraser said.

Idaho on Friday became the latest state to issue an Amber Alert for Hannah, following California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.

AMBER DiMaggio


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