Car Of Alleged Kidnapper Found In Rural Idaho

By: CBS (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS (Posted by Melissa Brunner)

(CBS) Officials say they have located the car of suspected kidnapper James DiMaggio in rural Idaho after receiving a tip from a group of campers on horseback that they may have spotted DiMaggio and missing California teen Hannah Anderson.

The search for Anderson, 16, and the man whom authorities describe as a close friend of her family has stretched across the Western U.S. and into Mexico and Canada.

On Wednesday, the group of campers on horseback came into contact with a man and a woman in the area that they later told authorities appeared to be out of place, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said in a news conference Friday afternoon. The campers reported the two were seen twice with backpacks and tents outside Cascade, Idaho, about 70 miles northeast of Boise.

The area has rugged terrain and is difficult to navigate with vehicles, Gore said.

"They did seem to think the two were out of place in that area with the light camping equipment they had," Gore said.

The group had a "brief conversation" with the pair, Gore said. After they returned from their trip, they saw news reports about the Amber Alert that's been issued for DiMaggio and the teen, and contacted local authorities, Gore said.

From the reports of the campers, the girl suspected to be Hannah Anderson appeared to be in good health, Gore said.

"As far as we know, it didn't look like she was being held against her will," Gore said.

On Sunday night, authorities found the body of Hannah's mother - 44-year-old Christina Anderson - when they extinguished flames at DiMaggio's rural home in California. A child's body also was discovered as they sifted through rubble in Boulevard, a tiny town 65 miles east of San Diego. The body may be that of Hannah's 8-year-old brother, Ethan, but it could take several days to identify the badly burned remains. Investigators were unable to extract DNA.

In Idaho, there was no sighting of a small boy, Gore said.

After searching the area, officials discovered DiMaggio's car, a blue Nissan Versa, on Friday about six miles from where the pair was spotted, Gore said. The car was covered in brush and the license plates had been removed, but officials were able to confirm it was DiMaggio's using a VIN number, Gore said.

Officials say the report fits in with their theory that DiMaggio planned the abduction. DiMaggio had recently bought camping equipment, Gore said.

Authorities earlier said they believe DiMaggio may have abandoned his car while he was on the run and rigged it with explosives. Bomb and arson technicians were set to render the vehicle safe before forensic tests are conducted, Gore said.

Local, state and federal authorities are working to comb the area for any sign of DiMaggio and the teen, Gore said.


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