California kidnapping victim recovered as authorities kill suspect
By Laura Zuckerman
SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) – A California man suspected of killing his longtime friend and her son and kidnapping her 16-year-old daughter was shot and killed on Saturday by an FBI agent in the Idaho wilderness and the girl rescued, the San Diego County Sheriff said.
James Lee DiMaggio, 40, was slain by an FBI agent while authorities were attempting to take him into custody near Morehead Lake in central Idaho, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said at an afternoon news conference.
The girl, Hannah Anderson, was found with DiMaggio and rescued by authorities apparently in good health, Gore said. She was taken to an Idaho hospital and would be reunited with her father as early as Sunday.
Further details about DiMaggio’s death or the rescue operation were not immediately available. Authorities in Idaho scheduled a news conference for Saturday evening.
More than 150 law enforcement officers on foot and on horseback had descended on the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness after a group of back country horsemen told police that they had spotted DiMaggio with the girl backpacking there on Wednesday.
Police searched the trailhead for clues and found DiMaggio’s car, stripped of its license plates and covered with brush. Police feared the car could be rigged with explosives but a bomb squad found none on Friday.
The telecommunications technician is wanted in the killing of Christina Anderson, 44, and 8-year-old Ethan and in the disappearance of Hannah, all of whom were last seen last Saturday.
The following day DiMaggio is suspected of having set his house on fire in the Southern California community of Boulevard, triggering a multi-state search and child abduction Amber Alerts.
The San Diego County Sheriff confirmed late on Friday that the remains of a second body found at the house were Ethan’s. Police declined to say how Christina Anderson or her son were killed.
Police say DiMaggio bought camping equipment and other gear in the weeks leading up to his flight, suggesting that the crime and his escape were planned in advance.
(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman and Dan Whitcomb; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Scott Malone and Sandra Maler)
Watch a report aired Saturday on KTLA-TV below.
[Image via KTLA-TV]