Monday, August 12, 2013

Former Idaho sheriff helped to foil kidnapper

The Associated Press is reporting today more details of how law enforcement found and killed James Lee DiMaggio, who had kidnapped 16-year-old Hannah Anderson nearly a week earlier in San Diego.  An FBI officer shot and killed DiMaggio on Saturday afternoon while rescuing Anderson.  This occurred a few days after four horseback riders encountered DiMaggio and Anderson in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area, near Cascade, Idaho.  One of those riders was former Gem County, Idaho Sheriff Mark John.  He told reporters that when they encountered the man and the teenager, "it just didn't fit." John continued: 
He might have been an outdoorsman in California.  But he was not an outdoorsman in Idaho. He didn't fit. 
The riders indicated that DiMaggio was also suspicious because he said he was headed to the Slamon River, but he was traveling in the wrong direction.  In addition, Ms. Anderson appeared to be wearing pajama bottoms.  When the riders returned home and saw photos of the kidnapped teen, they reported what they had seen to the Idaho State Police, leading to DiMaggio's death at the hands of law enforcement a few days later.

Sheriff John retired in 1996, but his crime-fighting instincts seem well in tact.

I have written here about how rural spatiality conceals, a fact DiMaggio seemed to be trying to take advantage of.  (It is also a phenomenon hinted at in a headline from the travel section of this week-end's NYT:  "Your Own Private Idaho." That, in turn, is a play on the 1991 film, "My Own Private Idaho.") When law enforcement spotted DiMaggio, he seemed to be "fortifying a patch of wilderness."  The Los Angeles Times quotes an unidentified law enforcement official:
... sources said that before the confrontation, authorities had observed DiMaggio moving some wood and other materials around, possibly to fortify his position or make the hideout harder to see from the air. 
DiMaggio and Anderson were found with some camp gear, including a blue tent, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment.
I guess it's hard to conceal a blue tent from aerial surveillance, even in a place called River of No Return Wilderness.

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