Hannah Anderson, the 16-year old girl who was kidnapped from her home by family friend James DiMaggio last week, was found alive and unharmed in the Idaho wilderness over the weekend. Now, the man who led police to their whereabouts is speaking out about his odd encounter with unstable DiMaggio and his captive.
Mark John was out on a horseback ride with his wife, Christa, and couple Mike and Mary Young when they came across DiMaggio and Hannah on a trail. Immediately, he says, he thought something was strange with the picture. Hannah hid her face from the newcomers, and all the gear they carried with them looked brand new. Then, DiMaggio mentioned that they were headed for Salmon River, which was in the opposite direction.
“They were just like a square peg going into a round hole. They didn’t fit. He might have been an outdoorsman in California, but he was not an outdoorsman in Idaho,” John said.
The duo’s camp was set up nearby, but the area had no water–which is one of the first rules of finding a camp spot–and the tent was on a ridge, a dangerous place to be in case a storm pops up. John says neither of them was very friendly, another thing that set off a warning in his gut.
“Usually when you meet people in the back country, you have a pretty good encounter, you know, and talk about where they’ve been and where they’re going. But they didn’t want to talk,” he said.
Although the group had been away from a television or radio long enough to be unaware that an Amber Alert had been issued for Hannah, John called police anyway. That act led to a chain of events that ended with DiMaggio being shot to death during a confrontation with police, and Hannah being rescued.
“For us to be there at the precise time to interact with them — it’s one chance in a trillion,” Christa John said.
Now, her father wants answers as to what happened in the time leading up to her kidnapping, as her mother and 8-year old brother were found dead in a burning house when she went missing. DiMaggio reportedly had an unhealthy infatuation with Hannah, but those close to the family say they never knew anything was wrong.
“There was nothing out of the ordinary,” the childrens’ aunt, Andrea Saincome, said. “He seemed like a genuinely nice guy. He was close to the kids, and he was friends with my sister and my brother-in-law.”
Image: San Diego Sheriff’s Department