Rescued teenage kidnapping victim Hannah Anderson made her first known public appearance Thursday since her ordeal ended, attending a crowded fundraiser for her family at a hometown restaurant.
The 16-year-old El Capitan High School student arrived at the Boll Weevil on Winter Gardens Boulevard in Lakeside with her father in the late afternoon and walked straight inside with a group of companions.
Hannah -- who was abducted Aug. 4 by a longtime family friend believed to have murdered her mother and younger brother and was freed six days later by FBI agents in an Idaho wilderness preserve -- made no comments to the throng of reporters and camera operators outside the business.
Her father, however, offered a few brief statements, thanking all those attending the benefit.
"This is a small community that we're part of, and the community came together, putting on this great fundraiser for Hannah and ... her future and healing," Brett Anderson said.
He also expressed gratitude once again to law enforcement, involved citizens and the news media for their help in finding his daughter.
"So, other than that, Hannah sends her love," he said. "She's doing good day by day, and we'll just keep moving forward from here. Thank you very much."
The father said the money raised during the restaurant event would help meet "a lot of expenses in front of us."
"I'm not a rich man by any means," he said, adding, nonetheless, that he might donate any unneeded monetary donations to agencies that fight exploitation of children.
"And right now, we're just working for her future and (to) get her settled, and that's about it for right now," he said.
In response to a question, Anderson said his daughter had been spending her time with family and friends since her homecoming.
"And she's just happy to be here," he said.
The restaurant was packed with community supporters throughout the afternoon and evening, with hour long waits at times.
The man accused of kidnapping Hannah and killing her family members, 40- year-old James Lee DiMaggio of Boulevard, was fatally shot Saturday afternoon by a federal hostage-rescue team in a forest preserve about 80 miles northeast of Boise.
Authorities began looking for Hannah and DiMaggio -- whom she and Ethan had known their entire lives and referred to as "Uncle Jim" -- in Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area after horseback riders reported spotting and chatting with them there.
DiMaggio's blue 2013 Nissan Versa was found hidden under a pile of brush and logs Friday morning near a trailhead about five miles from where the riders had come across the pair two days earlier.
Hannah only learned about the murders of her family members following her rescue in the rugged Idaho back country, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said.
Authorities have not disclosed a suspected motive for the crimes, but family friends told reporters that DiMaggio seemed to have developed an infatuation with the teenager, a change that made her uncomfortable.
-City News Service