The manhunt for James DiMaggio, who is suspected of killing Christina Anderson and her 8-year-old son, Ethan, and then burning down his house in Southern California with their bodies inside, got an enormous breakthrough when a couple on horseback believe they saw DiMaggio and 16-year-old Hannah Anderson camping in the remote wilderness of the Idaho mountains. The riders said Hannah appeared safe and unharmed. The shocking part? San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore said: "As far as we know, it didn't appear she was being held against her will." Ethan's remains were positively identified on Friday night.
DiMaggio was an avid outdoorsman and police believe the tip is very credible, especially since DiMaggio had hiked in Cascade, Idaho, near what is called "The River of No Return" before. His car was found nearby and searchers are now concentrated on the area. Law enforcement also believes that the suspect bought camping gear a few weeks ago.
DiMaggio was reportedly like "an uncle" to Hannah and Ethan, but police are working off the theory that he had developed an "unusual infatuation" with the blond teen. It's unknown whether Hannah realizes her mother and brother had been killed. Whether she is along with DiMaggio because she thinks they are merely on a camping trip. The other possibility, that she may have been part of the plot to kill her mother and brother, will certainly be looked at by investigators, but no one should assume that yet.
Additionally, it's possible that even if she was taken against her will, she is playing along with DiMaggio because she fears him. No one will know until the two are found and Hannah can talk and the investigators can piece together what happened.
One of Hannah's friends told the Associated Press that the girl was "creeped out" by DiMaggio and "didn't want to be alone" with him.
At any rate, investigators are confident the two will soon be found, and that Hannah will be returned to her heartbroken father.
Let's hope this all comes to a safe conclusion very soon.
Anyone who spots DiMaggio should call the San Diego County Sheriff's Department's homicide unit at 858-974-2321 and after hours at 858-565-5200, or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.
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