Hannah Anderson is back with her father after a search for the missing teen ended Saturday with a safe rescue and her captor killed.
Anderson was kidnapped by James Lee DiMaggio after the suspect killed her mother and 8-year-old brother, police said. The kidnapper then led authorities on a multi-state chase, one that ended in the Idaho wilderness on Saturday.
It was a stroke of luck that Hannah Anderson was found alive, police say. While DiMaggio was leading her into the countryside the pair happened upon two couples who were traveling by horseback. They said the 16-year-old girl hid her face and appeared to be frightened.
“She kinda had a scared look on her face. I just had a gut feeling about him,” Mike Young, who owns a ranch in Sweet, Idaho, said at a Sunday press conference.
The pair was first spotted on a trail and later by a lake, where one of the horseback riders warned Hannah not to dip her bare feet into the water.
“Looks like we’re all in trouble now,” Hannah responded, tipping off the riders that something was amiss.
But the riders said they assumed DiMaggio was the girl’s father, saying if they had known the truth they could have brought an end to the kidnapping. All four riders were carrying guns.
The riders returned to learn about the kidnapping, alerting authorities to their sighting. Police found DiMaggio’s car on Friday and by Saturday found his campsite, where James Lee DiMaggio was killed during a rescue attempt.
Relatives say they still don’t know what happened to Hannah during the ordeal.
“We don’t know what she saw or heard. Hannah is the only person who knows what happened that night,” grandfather Ralph Britt said on TODAY.
But on Saturday family members were elated to learn that Hannah was found alive, a bit of a happy ending to a tragic story.
“Oh, we’re so excited, we’re so lucky … none of us has started to breathe yet and we’re waiting, waiting for Hannah to come home,” Jennifer Willis, Hannah’s great-aunt, told 10News reporter Allison Ash during a live interview on Saturday. “It’s not going to happen until tomorrow but … none of us have been able to breathe.”
After the rescue, Hannah Anderson was reunited with her father.