The horseback riders who encountered a missing California teen and her suspected abductor said Sunday that "red flags" went up for them because the pair seemed out of place and ill-equipped for the Idaho back country.
At a news conference in Boise, Idaho, the four riders — two men and two women — said they came across 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and 40-year-old James Lee DiMaggio on Wednesday morning.
Mark John said the two weren't friendly and that the girl was wearing pajamas or sweatpants and that the man she was with carried only a light pack.
'I am nervous excited saddened 4 my wife and son and worried what my daughter has been through. It's now healing time. Keep us in your prayers.'—Text message from Brett Anderson, Hannah's father
"They didn't fit," said the 71-year-old John, who is a former sheriff from Gem County. "He might have been an outdoorsman in California but he was not an outdoorsman in Idaho.... Red flags kind of went up."
John said when he returned home he saw an Amber Alert that had been sent out for Anderson, and he contacted police.
DiMaggio was killed by authorities Saturday. He is suspected of killing Anderson's mother and brother. Anderson was not harmed.
FBI agents are processing evidence at the campsite in central Idaho's Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness where they first discovered Anderson and DiMaggio. Details about the operation are being released slowly.
Police tight-lipped about shooting
San Diego County Sheriff William D. Gore announced Anderson's rescue and DiMaggio's death from a news conference in California. He said members of his office notified Anderson's father, Brett Anderson, of her rescue.
Aug. 4: The burned bodies of Christina Anderson and a child were found at DiMaggio's rural home. An Amber Alert was issued for Anderson's two children.
Aug. 7: Sighting of DiMaggio's Nissan in northeast California.
Aug. 9: Car located near Cascade, Idaho. A horseback rider reported seeing two people matching the descriptions inside the boundary of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The rider said the girl appeared healthy and was not being held against her will.
Aug. 9: Law enforcement teams begin combing the wilderness.
Aug. 9: The child's body found in the fire was identified as that of Ethan Anderson.
Aug. 10: DiMaggio and Hannah were spotted from the air at a campsite near Morehead Lake. DiMaggio was killed in the shootout; Anderson was rescued unharmed and taken to a hospital.
"He was very relieved and very excited and looking forward to being reunited with his daughter," Gore said.
The father described a range of emotion in a text message to CNN.
"I am nervous excited saddened 4 my wife and son and worried what my daughter has been through," he wrote to the network. "It's now healing time. Keep us in your prayers."
Law enforcement agents first spotted two people who looked like Anderson and DiMaggio on Saturday afternoon, as they flew over the wilderness area in a plane, according to a statement from Ada County Sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Dearden.
The air was filled with smoke blown in from distant wildfires, and that made both flying and seeing the ground tough, Dearden said. The law enforcement commanders decided to send in an FBI Hostage Rescue Team immediately to get Anderson while they could.
The mountainous area is extremely steep, and the closest point where the helicopters could drop the team was more than a two-hour hike away. The agents crept close to the camp, waited until DiMaggio and Anderson separated, and then moved in.
The FBI moved the teen to an area where she could be picked up by a helicopter. The FBI won't release details about what happened between DiMaggio and law enforcement at the campsite until an investigation is complete, other than to say DiMaggio was shot and killed.
Suspect close to family
FBI Special Agent in Charge Mary Rook from Salt Lake City said the FBI will continue to work with law enforcement in both Idaho and California as the case transitions back to the San Diego Sheriff's Department.
Anderson appeared to be uninjured and was taken to an Idaho hospital where crisis counsellors and health care providers were assisting her. Her father was expected to arrive in Idaho on Sunday to reunite with her.
"We will make sure she gets as much care as possible, physically and emotionally," said Dearden.
The FBI said it was sending a team to investigate what unfolded before, during and after the shooting.
The location wasn't far from what had been the last known sighting of the pair. A horseback rider called authorities Thursday night to report that he had seen two people who resembled Anderson and DiMaggio with camping gear on a trail near the lake. The rider, whose name wasn't released, didn't realize they were subjects of a massive search until he got home and saw news reports. He was expected to speak to media Sunday.
The case began when the charred bodies of Anderson's mother, Christina Anderson, 44, and the teen's 8-year-old brother, Ethan Anderson, were found in DiMaggio's burning house outside San Diego, near the Mexico border.
DiMaggio was close to the family. The teen's father has described him as a best friend and said the children thought of him as an uncle.
Authorities have said DiMaggio had an "unusual infatuation" with Hannah, although the father said he never saw any strange behaviour.