Hunt for Fugitive, Teen Turns to Idaho Wilderness

Horseback rider spotted them on foot

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 10, 2013 5:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – The search for 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and her suspected abductor, 40-year-old James Lee DiMaggio, has spanned three states and thousands of miles. But now that law enforcement officers are at their closest yet to finding the pair, they face perhaps the most challenging search area of all. The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is the largest roadless area in the lower 48 states, sprawling across central Idaho and reaching north to the Montana border. To call the mountainous terrain rugged is an understatement.

"It's called the River of No Return for a reason," says Mike Medberry, a 57-year-old writer who hiked in the area three summers ago. "It's harsh and rugged, with steep terrain, lots of downed logs and thick brush." DiMaggio is suspected of killing Hannah's mother Christina Anderson, 44, and her 8-year-old brother Ethan, whose bodies were found Sunday in DiMaggio's burning house in California near the Mexico border. DiMaggio's car was found yesterday about 40 miles east of the tiny town of Cascade, parked near the wilderness area. The discovery came about two days after a horseback rider reported seeing the man and girl hiking in the area. The rider didn't realize the pair were being sought until he got home and recognized the pair in news reports.

This composite photo provided by the San Diego Sheriff's Department shows: James Lee Dimaggio, 40, left, Ethan Anderson, 8, and Hannah Anderson, 16.
This composite photo provided by the San Diego Sheriff's Department shows: James Lee Dimaggio, 40, left, Ethan Anderson, 8, and Hannah Anderson, 16.   (Uncredited)
A partially burned home of James DiMaggio sits behind police tape Tuesday, near the U.S.-Mexico border in Boulevard, Calif.
A partially burned home of James DiMaggio sits behind police tape Tuesday, near the U.S.-Mexico border in Boulevard, Calif.   (Gregory Bull)
  (m.msherman)
This combination of undated photos provided by the San Diego Sheriff's Department shows James Lee DiMaggio, 40, and Hannah Anderson, 16.
This combination of undated photos provided by the San Diego Sheriff's Department shows James Lee DiMaggio, 40, and Hannah Anderson, 16.   (AP Photo/San Diego Sheriff's Department)
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