“The Sheriff's Crime Laboratory tonight has positively identified the remains of the second body found in the Boulevard fire as those of eight-year-old Ethan Anderson.
The identity was ascertained through DNA analysis extracted through bone marrow. The search continues tonight for Jim DiMaggio and Hannah Anderson.”
Originally posted at 11:21 a.m. Friday Aug. 9, 2013.
Investigators have renewed hope that Lakeside resident Hannah Anderson is alive after hikers in a remote part of Idaho spotted a girl matching her description accompanied by a man believed to be murder, arson and kidnapping suspect Jim DiMaggio.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore confirmed media reports that Idaho authorities found a car early Friday matching the description of the blue Nissan Versa being sought in connection with the Amber Alert issued for Hannah, 16, and her brother, Ethan Anderson, 8.
He added, however, that witnesses chatted with a man and a woman midday Wednesday about six miles from where the car was located, in an area that is accessible only by horseback and by foot.
The hikers, he said, were unaware of the Amber Alert for the missing children, but learned late Wednesday of the search and contacted law enforcement officials about the people they had encountered.
Gore said he was “very confident” that Hannah could be recovered based on the development. The woman and man the hikers described appeared to be in good health, the sheriff said, but the witnesses were “unable to determine” if the woman was being held against her will.
The car was located near Cascade, Idaho, at 8 a.m. in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. The plates had been removed and it was covered with brush.
Investigators, however, were able to confirm that it was the suspect's car based on the vehicle identification number.
Sheriffs homicide detectives and crime technicians will leave for Idaho Friday to aid in the search for Hannah and DiMaggio.
Gore said several agencies are aiding in the effort, including two Idaho sheriffs department, the Idaho state police, the U.S. marshals and Customs and Border Patrol officials.
The investigators shared other new details in the case, including their belief that DiMaggio carefully planned the events that led to the deaths of Christina Anderson, 44, of Lakeside and a young boy, believed to be Ethan.
Detectives have not identified the body of a child found in a burning home in Boulevard along with Christina Anderson, but Gore made no mention of a boy being seen in Idaho with the man and woman.
The planning, said Capt. Duncan Fraser, included the purchase of camping gear, such as tents and backpacks, in the last two weeks.
“This was a planned event and there was preparation involved, absolutely,” Fraser said at Gore's news briefing.
Check back with Patch for more on this developing story:
Here's the background on the case of the missing children and their dead mother, Christina Anderson:
See also: Father of Missing Teen: 'Damage is Done ... Let My Daughter Go…
Aunt Pleads to Hannah Anderson's Abductor: ‘Get Her Home!’
Lakeside Woman Dead as Hopes Fade in Search for Boy, 8