Hannah Anderson gave her first interview on TV since the 16-year-old California girl was rescued after she was kidnapped earlier this month.
“In the beginning I was a victim, but now knowing everyone out there is helping me, I consider myself a survivor instead,” Anderson told NBC News on Thursday. “My mom raised me to be strong.”
In a teary interview, Anderson described herself as a survivor, while thanking people for their support.
Anderson also credited the Amber Alert system with helping rescue her.
She was captured by James DiMaggio, a friend of the family, and he took her through several states before ending up in the Idaho wilderness. DiMaggio was shot and killed by FBI agents.
Anderson also thanked law enforcement officials and others who helped rescue her.
“I’d like to say thank you, because without them I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” she said.
There has been speculation about the motive of DiMaggio’s kidnapping.
“We are going to be requesting from the Anderson family that we try to get DNA samples from Hannah. And if they have anything left from Ethan, that we get a DNA sample,” DiMaggio family spokesman, Andrew Spanswick, told CNN. “There has been a lot of rumors that Jim might be the father of either or both children.”
DiMaggio’s family has requested that DNA testing be conducted on Hannah and the remains of her brother, Ethan.
Hannah’s family told The Los Angeles Times that DiMaggio met her mother, Tina, and Brett Anderson “when Tina was in her sixth month of pregnancy with Hannah. Brett Anderson’s DNA was used to identify the body of his dead son Ethan Anderson.”
Anderson explained the texts that she sent to DiMaggio on the day of the kidnapping. She said those were to make arrangements for him to pick her up from cheerleading camp.
“And he didn’t know the address or what — like, where I was. So I had to tell him the address and tell him that I was gonna be in the gym and not in front of the school,” she said. “Just so he knew where to come get me.”
DiMaggio allegedly burned down his home before torturing Hannah’s mother and her brother.