Horse Riders Who Found Amber Alert Victim Hannah Anderson: “One Chance In A Trillion”

by
Owen Poindexter
Before teenager Hannah Anderson was found and rescued from her kidnapper, James Lee DiMaggio, the two of them were spotted by a “one chance in a trillion” encounter with two couples horseback riding through the Idaho back country.

Before teenager Hannah Anderson was found and rescued from her kidnapper, James Lee DiMaggio, the two of them were spotted by a “one chance in a trillion” encounter with two couples horseback riding through the Idaho back country. DiMaggio is suspected of killing Anderson’s mother and eight year-old brother, whose remains were found in Dimaggio’s burned down house.

The horseback riders suspected that something was off about DiMaggio and Anderson because they weren’t friendly, unlike most people they run into in the Idaho back country:

"Neither one of them wanted to talk. They were quite reserved. That's not like most people in the back country because in the back country, when you meet someone you want to share the experience, share the terrain, and you know, they just want to chat a little bit," said rider Mark John.

"I seen a lot of fear in her eyes and I didn't like what I seen in his eyes, so it put up a major red flag for me," Mike Young, another of the riders, said.

The riders described DiMaggio huddled together with Anderson, his arm around her waist. They weren’t entirely silent, but neither were anything like the people the riders were used to running into in the ominously (and for DiMaggio, appropriately) named No Return Wilderness in Gem County Idaho.

The strangest moment was when one of the riders saw Hannah Anderson sitting by a lake with her toes in the water. He tried to make a friendly joke:

“Don’t put your feet in the water! Don’t you know there’s fish in there?”

Anderson didn’t respond at first, then she said: “Looks like we’re all in trouble now.”

The riders conferred after they ran into DiMaggio and Anderson, but they didn’t take further action until they heard about the Amber Alert on the news that night. They alerted the authorities, and their tip led to an FBI agent finding them and killing DiMaggio three days later.

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