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Agents Who Shot Lakeside Teen Hannah Anderson's Abductor Cleared

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Federal agents who fatally shot a kidnapping and double-murder suspect in an Idaho wilderness preserve last summer after finding him there with a missing Lakeside high school girl acted within the law and will face no criminal charges over his death, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Two members of an FBI hostage-rescue team opened fire on James Lee DiMaggio, 40, from about 100 yards away after he fired two rounds from a rifle in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area while they were moving in to arrest him last Aug. 10.

DiMaggio's captive, 16-year-old Hannah Anderson, was unharmed.

The personnel had tracked DiMaggio and the El Capitan High School student to the remote locale about 40 miles from Cascade based on tips from a group of horseback riders who'd spotted the suspect and abducted teen.

Hannah had gone missing a week earlier. The day after she disappeared, a fire that authorities later determined had been started with time-delay incendiary devices burned down DiMaggio's home in rural southeastern San Diego County.

Firefighters found the bodies of Hannah's mother, 44-year-old Christina Anderson, and 8-year-old brother, Ethan, in the burned out log cabin-style house and a garage.

Hannah was unaware that her mother and brother had died until after her rescue, according to sheriff's officials.

All evidence surrounding the death of DiMaggio indicated that the agents who shot him acted in self-defense and were legally justified in doing so, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Valley County, Idaho, Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

The officers believed DiMaggio was shooting toward them when they opened fire, according to a joint statement issued by the agencies.

According to friends of the Andersons, DiMaggio, a longtime close friend of theirs, seemed to have developed an infatuation with the teen prior to the kidnapping and murders.

Known as "Uncle Jim" to Hannah and her brother, DiMaggio frequently helped the children's mother with the children after their father took a job out of state.

According to search-warrant records, Hannah exchanged 13 text messages with DiMaggio on the day of her abduction. Hannah said in a television interview that the communications were about where he could pick her up from cheerleading camp that day.

—City News Service

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