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article imageFBI confirms elite team rescued abducted teen in Idaho

By Shawn Kay     Aug 15, 2013 in Crime
Boise - Hannah Anderson, the 16 year-old California teen who was abducted and the subject of a massive manhunt was rescued by the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team who gunned down her abductor at a remote campsite in Idaho.
An official statement released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this past Saturday confirms that the agents who participated the safe rescue of 16 year-old kidnap victim Hannah Anderson in the Idaho backcountry were all members of the Hostage Rescue Team (HRT). The teen was rescued at a remote camp site near Morehead Lake, about 75 miles north of Boise, Idaho.
James DiMaggio, 40, Hannah Anderson's abductor was shot and killed during the rescue operation by the agents.
Members of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team at a tactical briefing.
Members of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team at a tactical briefing.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The case itself began on August 4, when DiMaggio invited Hannah, her mother, Christina Anderson, 44, and brother, Ethan Anderson, 8, to his house in Boulevard, a rural California town 60 miles from San Diego. While at the house, DiMaggio murdered Hannah's mother and younger brother before kidnapping the teen and setting his house ablaze.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert for Anderson and commenced with a massive manhunt.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers from local, state, and federal agencies were involved in the manhunt which spanned the entire West Coast region of the United States.
According to FBI officials, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, Valley and Ada County Sheriff's deputies, Idaho State Police, California Highway Patrol, U.S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Border Patrol all participated in the manhunt along with the FBI which led the entire operation.
DiMaggio managed to travel thousands of miles with his hostage over the course of nearly six days while avoiding police.
Law enforcement had originally feared that DiMaggio was armed with homemade explosives.
ABC News reports that a group of horseback riders spotted Anderson and DiMaggio on hiking trials in Idaho and said the teen had "a lot of fear in her eyes" that led them to report the sighting to officials and ultimately led to Anderson's rescue.
Mike Young, one of the riders told Good Morning America, "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."
Upon returning home and witnessing the Amber Alert for Anderson, they notified officials. Law enforcement descended upon the area and quickly located a blue Nissan, owned by DiMaggio, covered in brush this past Friday.
According to federal law enforcement officials, HRT members were inserted via helicopter and climbed near-vertical terrain for two and a half hours before they reached DiMaggio's campsite.
Officials note that the steep mountain terrain complicated the team's rescue operation.
HRT entered the campsite at 5:20 p.m. and approached DiMaggio and Anderson. DiMaggio "fired at least one round" with a rifle, prompting the agents to return fire and kill the suspect, this according to San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore.
An FBI SWAT team was also in the area and participated in the rescue operation.
The FBI is investigating the shooting and has dispatched ballistic and forensic investigators to the incident scene to piece together the events of the confrontation.
Hannah Anderson was safely recovered and did not sustain any injuries during the rescue operation.
Throughout the ordeal, DiMaggio kept Anderson in the dark about the deaths of her mother and brother.
It was not until after the interview process that FBI victim specialists broke the tragic news to Anderson.
The teen was reunited with her father, Brett Anderson, in Idaho and returned home to San Diego County late Sunday night.
Brett told the media that DiMaggio was a close and trusted family friend.
While many details, including the circumstances and motive surrounding the double murder and abduction, remained unclear and under investigation, law enforcement officials said DiMaggio might have had an "unusual infatuation" with Hannah Anderson.
The family has described DiMaggio's death as "fitting."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation s Hostage Rescue Team executing a mock assault on a building dur...
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Hostage Rescue Team executing a mock assault on a building during counter-terrorism training. HRT was created to provide an effective civilian response capability to terrorism.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The Hostage Rescue Team is America's premier civilian law enforcement counter-terrorism tactical unit and SWAT team. This elite entity is tasked with rescuing Americans taken hostage by terrorists on the U.S. mainland and occasionally abroad.
Though originally created to combat the scourge of terrorism, this elite strike force has increasingly taken on operations involving conventional but heavily armed criminals. Within recent years, HRT has taken down violent street gangs and organized crime groups as well as tackled complex operations involving disgruntled individuals and the criminally insane.
This past February, HRT rescued a five year-old boy from a criminally deranged man who had abducted him at gunpoint from a school bus near a highway in Alabama. The gunman killed the driver of the school bus during the commission of his crime.
For nearly a week, the gunman held the five year-old in a booby-trapped underground bunker rigged with explosives.
After negotiations broke down and officials began to fear for the personal well-being of the hostage, HRT agents stormed the fortified bunker. The gunman was killed during the rescue effort while the five year-old boy was recovered safely.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Hostage Rescue Team.
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