Friday, August 9, 2013

 

Suspected San Diego kidnapper's car found in Idaho: police

A man and woman believed to match the description of a San Diego kidnapping suspect and the 16-year-old California girl with him were spotted by horseback riders in Idaho on Wednesday, authorities said at a Friday news conference.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said a car matching the description of the vehicle driven by James Lee DiMaggio was found in a remote, mountainous area of Idaho, about six miles outside of the city of Cascade.

"The people on horseback, the four individuals who were out in that area, they thought it was just unique that they ran across them out there," Gore said. "And then when they came back, they made some inquiry and they found out about the Amber Alert and the information we have on DiMaggio."
Officials suspect DiMaggio, 40, of setting fire to his own house, killing a woman and a boy inside, and kidnapping 16-year-old Hannah Anderson. Authorities in several states, Canada and Mexico are looking for him.

The man and woman were spotted carrying backpacks about six miles from where the car was found, Gore said, adding that DiMaggio had recently purchased camping equipment. Both people spotted on Wednesday appeared in good health, he said.
The witnesses notified law enforcement authorities in the area about the sighting on Thursday.

"As far as we know, it didn’t look like she was being held against her will,” the sheriff added.

A ground search was initiated and a car matching DiMaggio's Nissan Versa was found Friday covered with brush and without any license plates. A check of the car's vehicle identification number on the windshield was performed and confirmed it was DiMaggio's car, the sheriff said.

The vehicle was found in a remote section of land that is not easily accessible, Gore added, but said he was confident the girl would be returned safely.

“She was alive on Wednesday and we hope that law enforcement will find them up in the mountains there and return them safely,” Gore said.

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Amber Alert issued in California: From left, James Lee DiMaggio, 40; Ethan Anderson, 8; and Hannah Anderson, 16
Hannah Anderson and her 8-year-old brother, Ethan, have been missing since their mother’s death.

On Sunday, police discovered the burned remains of Christina Anderson, 44, in a log cabin-style home in Boulevard, Calif. Along with Anderson’s body, police also found the body of a child that has yet to be identified, but authorities believe may be Ethan’s.


Amber Alerts were issued in Oregon and Washington on Wednesday for the two kids after DiMaggio’s car was believed to have been spotted in Northern California. The alert did not say whether DiMaggio or either of the children was in the car. An alert was also posted in Nevada on Thursday. 

The FBI and various state and local law enforcement agencies are assisting in the investigation. 


DiMaggio is described as white, 5 feet 9 inches, 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He may have shaved off a mustache and beard, detectives said.

Sheriff's officials told NBC San Diego that Christina Anderson had a “close platonic relationship” with DiMaggio. Neighbors told the station had he moved to the area five years ago. A neighbor told The Associated Press that Christina and her husband, Brett Anderson, had recently separated. 

San Diego sheriff’s officials said DiMaggio has had an “unusual infatuation” with Hannah.

“That is kind of a working theory, that it may be something of a motivator,” San Diego County sheriff’s Capt. Duncan Fraser told NBC San Diego. “It’s definitely something that we're looking at.”

Marissa Chavez, 15, told The Associated Press that a couple of months ago she had witnessed DiMaggio tell her friend that he had a crush on her and would date her if they were the same age, as they drove home from a gymnastics competition.

“She was a little creeped out by it. She didn’t want to be alone with him,” Chavez told the news service.

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