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Missing CA Teenager Safe, To Be Reunited With Dad

9:09 AM, Aug 11, 2013   |    comments
James DiMaggio killed, Hannah Anderson found safe (CBS News)
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A San Diego father and the daughter whose disappearance set off a tense, weeklong manhunt were expected to be reunited Sunday, a day after after she was rescued and her accused kidnapper was fatally shot in rural Idaho.

Authorities on Sunday continued to swarm the backwoods wilderness area where James DiMaggio, 40, was killed by an FBI agent late Saturday after law enforcement officials spotted DiMaggio's isolated campsite 70 miles from Boise.

San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore said Hannah Anderson, 16, was "successfully rescued and appears to be in good shape."

The tragic saga, which kicked off Amber Alerts at least four states, began Aug. 4 when the San Diego Sheriff's Department says it appears that DiMaggio kidnapped Hannah after killing her mother, Christina Anderson, and her younger brother, Ethan. Their bodies were found in DiMaggio's burning California home near the Mexican border.

After her rescue, Hannah was taken to a hospital for evaluation. Her father, Brett Anderson, described a range of emotion in a text message to CNN, AP reported early Sunday.

"I am nervous excited saddened 4 my wife and son and worried what my daughter has been through," he wrote to the network. "It's now healing time. Keep us in your prayers."

Authorities said DiMaggio was "infatuated" with Hannah. Her father said his kids had referred to DiMaggio as "Uncle Jim" and that he promised to watch over his family.

FBI victim specialists will work with Hannah and her family to get them the resources they need as they come to terms with the tragedy, FBI Special Agent Mary Rook said. "As grateful as we are that she is recovered safely, we also remember the victims who lost their lives."

An Amber Alert had been issued for both children, but Friday night authorities confirmed that the remains found in DiMaggio's home matched the DNA of Ethan, 8.

On Wednesday, a man on horseback in Idaho's Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area reported seeing DiMaggio and Hannah in hiking gear and backpacks. Idaho authorities said the rider didn't realize the pair were being sought until he got home and recognized them on news reports.

DiMaggio's Nissan Versa, covered with brush and missing its California license plates, was found Friday morning near a trailhead in the wilderness area. Authorities had suspected the car may have been booby-trapped, but no explosives were found in or around the vehicle. DiMaggio had been considered armed and dangerous, authorities said.

About 200 law enforcement officials - mostly FBI agents - descended on a 320-square-mile section of the wilderness area, a mostly roadless, rugged, heavily wooded forest in central Idaho about 70 miles northeast of Boise.

A helicopter search team spotted DiMaggio's campsite, and a ground team was sent in. DiMaggio was shot and killed by an FBI tactical agent at the north end of idaho's Morehead Lake at around 5:20 p.m. local time, 7:20 p.m. ET, Saturday, Gore said.

"Obviously we would've liked Mr. DiMaggio to surrender and face justice in the court of law but that's not going to be the case," Gore said.

Teams from the Valley County and Ada County Sheriff's departments, U.S Marshals Service, Homeland Security, Border Patrol, Idaho Army National Guard and Idaho State Police were part of the search-and-rescue operations, according to Andrea Dearden, an Ada County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

The rescue was "truly was a joint effort," he said, adding that Hannah's father was immediately notified of his daughter's rescue. "Obviously he's elated that we found his daughter is alive and plans are being made now to reunite him with his daughter."

USA TODAY

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