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Idaho police kill kidnapper of US teen

James Lee DiMaggio shot dead after officers participating in massive manhunt spotted wilderness campsite from the air.

Last Modified: 11 Aug 2013 22:55
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DiMaggio was suspected of killing a California woman and her son before abducting her 16-year-old daughter [AP]

A man suspected of killing a California woman and her young son before abducting her 16-year-old daughter has been killed in the Idaho wilderness and the teen was found safe, authorities said.

James Lee DiMaggio, 40, was killed at the north end of Morehead Lake, San Diego Sheriff William D. Gore said on Saturday. The shooting came after officers participating in a massive manhunt spotted a campsite from the air.

The FBI said it was sending in a team to investigate the shooting, but offered few details.

Gore said San Diego sheriff's authorities have notified Hannah Anderson's father that she was rescued.

"He was very relieved and very excited and looking forward to being reunited with his daughter," Gore said.

Plans are being made to reunite the two as soon as possible. Hannah has no apparent physical injuries, but she was taken to a hospital where crisis counsellors, victim witness coordinators and healthcare providers are assisting her.

"We will make sure she gets as much care as possible, physically and emotionally," said Andrea Dearden, a spokeswoman from the Ada County Sheriff's Department who has been leading the communication team for the interagency effort in Valley County.

Dearden said she didn't know if DiMaggio fired at officers. She said the teen and DiMaggio were spotted not far from where a horseback rider reported seeing the pair on Wednesday.

Bodies found

Federal and local law enforcement spent Saturday combing through Idaho's rugged Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in search of Hannah and DiMaggio. The wilderness is the largest roadless area in the lower 48 states, sprawling across central Idaho and reaching north to the Montana border.

DiMaggio is suspected of killing Hannah's mother, 44-year-old Christina Anderson, and her 8-year-old brother Ethan Anderson, whose bodies were found on Sunday night in DiMaggio's burning house in California near the Mexico border.

DiMaggio's car was found on Friday morning about 65km east of the tiny town of Cascade, parked where the dirt road ends and the Sand Creek trailhead enters the wilderness area.

Detectives with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department finished searching DiMaggio's car on Saturday afternoon. They had the vehicle towed to a garage in Cascade for further processing.

The discovery of the car came on Friday, about two days after a horseback rider reported seeing the man and girl hiking in the area.

Ada County Sheriff's department spokeswoman Andrea Dearden, who is helping the Valley County sheriff's department handle the case, said the rider did not realise the pair were being sought until he got home and recognised them in news reports.

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