A sixteen-year-old girl, Hannah Anderson, lived with her Mother, Christiana, and her younger brother, Ethan, in California; while their father was partaking in his temporary job in Tennessee. James DiMaggio, who was their father’s best friend was helping Christiana for the time being of the father’s absence. He was practically the children’s second father as they called him, Uncle Jim. He was planning to move to Texas because of financial problems and decided to ask the Anderson family over to say their final goodbyes. During that day, James decided he was going to pick Hannah up from cheer champ as he sometimes would; which led to the unusual kidnapping.
Before the kidnapping arose, James and Hannah were like family. He would always take her and Ethan on trips to the beach and the park. He hung out with their father all the time and he lived with their grandmother for a time being. (source nine). Hannah and James would exchange text messages, phone calls, and letters on a frequent basis when Hannah and her mother weren’t getting along very well. They would talk about the situation occurring and he would assure her everyone would be okay. (source 8). James was always there for Hannah and her family and there was nothing abnormal about that at the time.
During one summer day, Hannah, her friend, and James were in a car on their way back to Hannah’s house from Gymnastics practice. There was a suspicious comment made by James directed to Hannah, but she did not want to make a big deal about it. James told Hannah he had a crush on her and even stated, “I just want you to know that if you were my age, then I’d date you” (source 11). As soon as James told her, he bounced back and wanted to make sure Hannah did not feel as if he was creepy. Neither of the girls in the car said anything about the weird comment, but when they arrived at home, Hannah texted her friend about how weird that situation went down. Hannah never told her parents about the award comment because she did not want to destroy the relationship between her parents and James.
On August 3, 2013, James and Hannah rearranged thirteen text messages within an hour before the abduction. Hannah was being picked up from cheer camp and she had to inform James of El Capital High School’s address. She let him know that she was going to be in the gym, rather than in front of the school. There was construction throughout the parking lot, so Hannah gave him instructions that leaded James to the gym side of the building.
The ride home from cheer camp was like any other day until James and Hannah arrived back at James’s house. She quickly began to realize something was really wrong when she got to his house and her mom’s car was not present. (sourse 7). James took Hannah into his house where she could hear her brother upstairs screaming, but she was taken immediately and could not get away. James handcuffed her wrist and zip tied her feet, so she could no longer escape. (source 7). At this time, Hannah was terrified and felt extremely uneasy. James sat Hannah down on the couch and told him his plan about taking her to Idaho, so she can help him carry his bags. James promised he would bring her right back and no one would get hurt. Hannah apparently was drugged at James’s house and woke up in Idaho. (source 7). When she woke up she asked about her family. James told Hannah they were both in the garage and the house was supposed to set on fire at seven o’clock” (source 9). Hannah reacted in fear and was terrified of her own life being at risk.
Soon after, the police found Christiana and Ethan dead in James’s house and the police feared Hannah’s safety because she has not been seen since cheerleading practice. ABC news states, “Authorities issued an Amber Alert, and border agents reported seeing DiMaggio and Hannah Anderson in a blue Nissan, driving through a checkpoint at the California-Mexican border” (source 12). During this traumatic process, Hannah had no idea anyone was even looking for her. She was just trying to stay alive and hope for the best possible outcome.
During the trip in the woods of Idaho, Hannah was told by James to act calm as he warned her about running away. Hannah knew if she would have tried to escape, then he would have killed her (source one). James set up a tent for them to live in and he built a fire to keep them warm. Hannah and James kept their conversations abnormal and short the whole week. She did all the task he gave her, which included carrying fifty-pound bags back and forth from one destination to another. It took them two or three days of hiking before they got to where they were staying.
While Hannah was missing from her home, her father was wishing she would come home every day. Her father stated, “I’m begging you to let my daughter go; you’ve taken everything else” (source 4). Hannah’s father expresses his aggravation towards the family friend and would do anything he could for James to let his daughter free. He searched for her every day in hopes that nothing bad would happen to Hannah.
During the case of missing, Hannah Anderson, four horseback riders were riding through a forest when they came across James and Hannah. The horseback riders had no idea Hannah was the missing girl, but red flags arose very quickly once they started talking with the two. Neither of them was very friendly and James did all the talking. Their gear looked like it was all brand new and that was very unfamiliar is that part of town. (source 5). Hannah appeared to be wearing pajamas, instead of her hiking clothes. She remained calm and speechless because she was scared James would kill her and the riders. As soon as the riders got home; they turned on the news and immediately knew the missing was the same girl that appeared out in the forest. (source 5). That man immediately called the state troopers and the FBI was contacted soon after.
The FBI got into a plane and circled the area where the horseback riders said they saw Hannah and James. The plane first spotted the blue tent that they were staying in and that narrowed down the area in which they should search for the two. The troopers realized that being in the wilderness would take hours for all of them to get into their proper positions. Meanwhile, the piolet of the plane circled the area for hours. A supervisor Steve Jurman stated, “We were not going to take our eyes off that tent until we had other resources dedicated” (source 3). They were worried James would notice and do something to Hannah, but that never happened. About six hours later of spotting Hannah and James, the investigators shot and killed James after he took a shot at them first.
Hannah realized she was being rescued soon after James fell dead to the ground. Hannah was pulled aside, where they placed a blanket around her to calm her down. The FBI explained to Hannah that a helicopter was coming to rescue her to reassure everything was going to be okay. Hannah was rushed to the hospital where her father flew out to see her. (source 9). While she was there, Hannah got terrible news that her mom and brother had passed. The thought of this never seemed real to Hannah. (source 9). She broke down immediately after processing what had truly become a reality.
A couple days after Hannah was rescued she got back on her social media; trying to get back into her everyday life. It was clear to everyone Hannah’s social media account was very active up until August fourth, but it showed reactivation on August twelfth. She was checking up on her page as soon as she got a new phone and saw all the comments arising from her community. Hannah posted on her page, “I wish I could go back in time and risk my life to save theirs. I will never forgive myself for not trying harder to save them” (source 10). Hannah wishes she was able to save her family and in respond she got something special to remind her of them. Her nails were professionally done for her mom and brother. The blue was for Ethan and the pink was for her mom. (source 5). Hannah wore her support as she was getting things arranged for the funeral.
The kidnapping of Hannah Anderson lasted six days until she was rescued. She was abducted by a trusted family friend James DiMaggio and taken to a forest within Idaho. Hannah was threatened by James multiple times during the trip and she was terrified something bad was going to happen to her family, as well as herself. She never thought of him as a scary person until the day she was taken away. Hannah was able to get reused safely, so she could be with her father.