kidnapped

Grandparents of kidnapped teen: 'Our family is very strong'

Aug. 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM ET

Video: Sara and Ralph Britt said that they were “so happy” to hear their granddaughter was finally safe.

The grandparents of Hannah Anderson, the 16-year-old girl who was allegedly kidnapped and taken into the Idaho wilderness, received a phone call Saturday that there was news.

“We didn't know if it was good news or bad news,” said Ralph Britt, Anderson's grandfather, on TODAY Saturday. They drove over to the house of a family member, telling TODAY’s Erica Hill, “It was a long drive there.”

Video: Kidnap suspect, teen sought in Idaho wilderness

When they arrived they were greeted by their son-in-law. “He said Hannah was safe, and Jim was dead,” Britt said. What followed then was joy and hugs. “We were so happy,” Britt said.

Jim Lee DiMaggio, 40, was killed by authorities Saturday in an arrest attempt at a campsite, according to police. Two teams had come in by air and foot, hiking into the woods for two and a half hours to reach the campsite and surround it.

Video: Friend of kidnap suspect: 'There were no warning signs'

“As soon as they were able to see that Hannah was separate from DiMaggio, then that’s when they moved in and rescued her,” Andrea Dearden, the public information officer of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, told TODAY Saturday. 

DiMaggio had been a friend of Anderson's family. He was so close to the kids they called him “Uncle Jim,” and he was there when Anderson was born. Britt called it a “complete shock” that DiMaggio had not only allegedly kidnapped his granddaughter, but also allegedly killed his daughter Tina Anderson, 44, and her 8-year-old son Ethan.

It wasn’t clear if Anderson knew her mother and brother had been killed. “Hannah is the only person that knows what happened that night,” Britt said. Anderson went missing on Aug. 3, after cheerleading practice. 

Story: Rescued teen Hannah Anderson to be reunited with dad

While Anderson recovers in the hospital, she will be joined by her father in Idaho. Her grandparents said they will be able to see and speak to her when the time is right, after she recovers.

“Our family is very strong,” said Anderson's grandmother. "Tina was an excellent mother and would do anything for her children... apparently she just trusted Jim, we all trusted Jim, there was no reason not to ever. He was great to her and everyone in the family. We just don’t know what happened."

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