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Hannah Anderson Update: California teen was a "victim in every sense of the word," sheriff says

FILE - This combination of undated file photos provided by the San Diego Sheriff's Department shows James Lee DiMaggio, 40, left, and Hannah Anderson, 16. A massive search entered a seventh day Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, for DiMaggio, suspected of abducting 16-year-old family friend Hannah. DiMaggio is suspected of killing Hannah's mother Christina Anderson, 44, and her 8-year-old brother Ethan Anderson, whose bodies were found Sunday night in DiMaggio's burning house in California near the Mexico border. (AP Photo/San Diego Sheriff's Department, File) Uncredited

James Lee DiMaggio, 40, left, and Hannah Anderson, 16.
AP Photo/San Diego Sheriff's Department, File
(CBS) SAN DIEGO -California teen Hannah Anderson was a "victim in every sense of the word" and was not a willing participant in her kidnapping, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

Anderson, 16, was "under extreme duress" during her abduction by family friend James DiMaggio until her rescue Saturday in the Idaho wilderness, Gore said.

PICTURES: Calif. teen rescued in Idaho wilderness

"I can't make it any clearer - she was a victim in this case, she was not a willing participant," Gore said.

The case began when the charred bodies of Hannah Anderson's mother Christina Anderson, 44, and the teen's 8-year-old brother, Ethan Anderson, were found in a burning house outside San Diego, near the Mexico border. Police allege DiMaggio killed Anderson's mother and brother and then abducted the teen, taking her from Southern California to Idaho.

Following the issuance of an Amber Alert and a massive search, law enforcement was tipped off by a group of horseback riders who spotted the pair camping outside of Cascase, Idaho, on Wednesday. Mark and Christa John of Sweet, Idaho, were out horseback riding with another rancher and his wife Wednesday when they ran into Anderson and 40-year-old DiMaggio. They would later recognize the girl on television as the subject of the Amber Alert.

Police discovered DiMaggio's brush-covered car after a search, and later, located the pair's campsite. An FBI Hostage Rescue Team safely rescued Anderson Saturday, and DiMaggio was shot and killed during the incident.

DiMaggio "fired at least one round" with a rifle before he was killed, Gore said, but wouldn't provide further details about the rescue, citing the ongoing investigation.

Hannah Andersondidn't know about her mother and brother's death until she was rescued and interviewed by the FBI, Gore said.

Anderson's father, Brett Anderson, thanked the media and law enforcement, but pleaded for privacy.

"As for my daughter, the healing process will be slow," Anderson said Monday. "She's been through a tremendous, horrific ordeal. I'm very proud of her and I love her very much. She's surrounded by the love of family, friends and the community."

He also thanked the Johns, who spotted his daughter in the Idaho wildnerness and contacted police. "My family and I are eternally grateful," he said.

John told police the two seemed out of place with their light camping equipment in the rugged terrain. He later told reporters that the man had a gray cat with him, which he thought was particularly strange.

"When they showed up to the lake it was like a square peg in a round hole - he didn't fit. He might have been an outdoorsman in California but he was not an outdoorsman in Idaho," John said. "Red flags kind of went up."

Speaking to reporters Monday, Gore said the cat belonged to DiMaggio.

DiMaggio was close to the family. Brett Anderson has described him as a best friend and said the children thought of him as an uncle.

Authorities have said DiMaggio had an "unusual infatuation" with Hannah, although the father said he never saw any strange behavior.

Complete coverage of Hannah and Ethan Anderson on Crimesider

  • Erin Donaghue

    Erin Donaghue covers crime for CBSNews.com's Crimesider.

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