"She was under extreme duress," a sheriff says after the rescue of 16-year-old Hannah Anderson

By Associated Press
August 12, 2013 05:15 PM
San Diego Sheriff's Department/AP

Hannah Anderson didn’t know her mother and brother were dead until she was rescued after her suspected kidnapper was fatally shot by authorities.

“It was clear from the information that we received that she was under extreme duress,” San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore told KSWB-TV, the Fox affiliate in San Diego, on Monday. “She was taken out of the county, out of the state, clearly against her will.”

James Lee DiMaggio, 40, fired at least one shot from “a shoulder weapon” Saturday during the rescue, Gore said. “The first rule is to try to rescue the hostage here and hopefully take the subject alive. That did not happen in this case.”

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Hannah’s father, Brett Anderson, reunited with his 16-year-old daughter Sunday at an undisclosed hospital in Boise, where she was flown hours after her rescue from a camp near an alpine lake. Hannah also rejoined her gray cat, which she had with her in the wilderness.

Brett later appeared at a press conference in San Diego.

“It’s time for us to grieve and move on to the healing process,” he told reporters Monday. “I respectfully ask that you give us the respect and time to allow this to happen. For my daughter, the healing process will be slow, she’s been through a tremendously horrific ordeal. She’s surrounded by the love of her family, friends, and community.”

The massive search spanning much of the Western United States and parts of Canada and Mexico probably would have taken longer if not for a sharp-eyed retired sheriff and three other horseback riders in the rugged backcountry hadn’t seen the pair Wednesday.

Mark John, who retired as a Gem County sheriff in 1996, shared his suspicions with the Idaho State Police after encountering DiMaggio and the girl on the trail. That enabled investigators to focus efforts on a specific portion of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, a 3,600-square-mile roadless preserve in the heart of Idaho.

“They just didn’t fit,” said John, 71. “He might have been an outdoorsman in California, but he was not an outdoorsman in Idaho. … Red flags kind of went up.”