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Sheriff confirms: DiMaggio dead, teen safe in manhunt

8:48 PM, Aug 10, 2013   |    comments
James Lee DiMaggio, 40, is wanted for the alleged abduction of Hannah Anderson, 16. San Diego sheriff Bill Gore said the pair were spotted in a remote area of Idaho by campers at mid-week. (Photo: San Diego Sheriff's Department/AP)
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(USA Today) -- California murder and kidnapping suspect James DiMaggio has been killed and teen Hannah Anderson is safe, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore said at a press conference.

"It truly was a joint effort and I am pleased to stand here to day and say that Hannah was successfully rescued and appears to be in pretty good shape," Gore says.

Hannah's father was notified. "Obviously he's elated what we found his daughter is alive and plans are being made now to reunite him with his daughter hopefully tomorrow morning," Gore says. "He was very relieved and very excited and looking forward to being reunited with his daughter."

Some 200 law enforcement officials – mostly FBI agents – had descended on a 320-square-mile area of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area, a mostly roadless, rugged, heavily wooded forest in central Idaho about 70 miles northeast of Boise.

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. Their efforts were hindered by the area's rough terrain, lack of vehicle access and cellphone coverage, says Andrea Dearden, an Ada County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman. She would not say if drones or infrared devices are being used.

Rescue teams were expected to pull back from their search at nightfall before resuming early Sunday, Deaden said.

DiMaggio's Nissan Versa, covered with brush and missing its California license plates, was found about five miles from a trailhead into the area Friday morning. Authorities had suspected the car may have been booby-trapped, but no explosives were found in or around the vehicle by a Boise Police Department bomb squad. DiMaggio is considered armed and dangerous, authorities say.

The discovery of his car came two days after a man on horseback reported seeing DiMaggio and 16-year-old Hannah in hiking gear and backpacks. Idaho authorities say the rider didn't realize the pair were being sought until he got home and recognized them on news reports.

The San Diego Sheriff's Dept. says it appears that DiMaggio, 40, kidnapped Hannah after killing her mother, Christina Anderson, and her brother, Ethan, last weekend. Their bodies were found in DiMaggio's burning California home near the Mexican border Sunday. On Friday night, San Diego County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the remains found in the home matched the DNA of Ethan, 8.

The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area was named after the late four-term Idaho senator, a Boise native who sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1976. At more than 2.3 million acres, it's the second-largest protected wilderness area outside of Alaska., coursing through mountain ranges, deep canyons and the middle fork of the Salmon River, a popular waterway for rafting, kayaking and fishing.

DiMaggio, a friend of the Andersons, is an experienced outdoorsman, according to Hannah's father, Brett Anderson, who was separated from his wife and had moved to Tennessee for work. He and DiMaggio, a Scripps Research Institute telecommunications technician, met about 20 years ago.

Authorities say DiMaggio is "infatuated" with Hannah.

Brett Anderson said earlier this week that DiMaggio had promised to watch over his family and that his kids had referred to him as "Uncle Jim."

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