Home / National News / Kidnapped California Teen Had 'Fear in Her Eyes,' Witness Says


(NEW YORK) — A group of horseback riders who spotted Hannah Anderson and her kidnapper, James Lee DiMaggio on hiking trails in Idaho, said Monday that Anderson had “a lot of fear in her eyes” that led them to report the sighting to police.

That call led to Anderson’s rescue this weekend, which came when an FBI agent shot and killed DiMaggio. DiMaggio is also suspected of killing Anderson’s mother and brother, setting their house on fire, and abducting Anderson on Aug. 4. The amber alert set off a manhunt that spanned three states and thousands of miles.

Two couples were horseback riding in the No Return Wilderness in Gem County, Idaho, on Wednesday when they saw Anderson and DiMaggio on the side of a trail, and tried to chat with them to exchange pleasantries.

“They were extremely quiet. Didn’t want to engage in any kind of conversation, kind of had a bad look on their face,” Mark John, one of the horseback riders and a former sheriff’s deputy from Gem County, told ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday.

“I seen a lot of fear in her eyes and I didn’t like what I seen in his eyes, so it put up a major red flag for me,” Mike Young, another of the riders, said.

The riders said that after they passed by the pair, they stopped and regrouped, noting that there was something amiss with the hikers.

“Neither one of them wanted to talk. They were quite reserved. That’s not like most people in the back country because in the back country, when you meet someone you want to share the experience, share the terrain, and you know, they just want to chat a little bit,” Mark John said.

When they returned back home the next day and saw the report of the amber alert for Anderson, they notified authorities. Authorities quickly located a blue Nissan, owned by DiMaggio, covered in brush on Friday.

On Saturday, hundreds of law enforcement agents flooded the remote area, found the pair, and shot and killed DiMaggio.

Anderson was brought to an Idaho hospital before being returned home to her father and family members.

Sheriff Bill Gore in San Diego County, Calif., said DiMaggio was killed by an FBI agent at 4:22 p.m. PT.

DiMaggio and Hannah’s mother, Christina Anderson, “were in a close platonic relationship,” according to the sheriff’s department, and officials said DiMaggio might have had an “unusual infatuation” with the teenage daughter.

The teenager was reunited with her father Brett Anderson over the weekend.

“Obviously, [Brett Anderson] is elated that we found his daughter alive,” Gore said.

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