James DiMaggio's car was found by authorities in Idaho hidden under a heavy amount of brush. The discovery helped lead them to DiMaggio and 16-year-old Hannah Anderson.
Colonel Ralph Powell with the Idaho State Police spoke to CNN's Chris Cuomo about the challenges of tracking them down and the clues DiMaggio left behind:
"It's a huge area, the Frank Church wilderness area, not only is it expansive, but it's rugged and it's rough. You go from 9,000 foot peaks down to the gorge which is almost as deep as the Grand Canyon. So to think you've got to cover that would initially be perceived as an impossible task, but none the less, resources were brought to bear and we were ready to take that on."
Attention to detail was key.
"You've got attention to detail being paramount in this whole episode… It's providence perhaps because the morning the light hit just right to catch a piece of reflection off one of the red, rear tail lamps, and that's what it took… right place, right time, sun at the right angle." (WATCH TOP VIDEO)
It was one thing discover where they were, but it was another challenge to actually rescue Anderson.
Steve Moore, a former FBI agent who specialized in investigation and prosecution of violent crimes, spoke to CNN's Kate Bolduan about the process authorities likely followed once the location was determined:
"Well this is something we train to do in SWOT. You would not want to be dropped right on the campsite because the hostage taker could harm or at least get to the victim before you could do anything about it. Two hours away is probably their desired distance because it's to take them a while to infiltrate the area of the campsite covertly. I would guess that the first time the hostage taker knew that the FBI was there was when he was told to put his hands up."
Authorities apparently waited until DiMaggio and Anderson were not near each other.
"That tells me they were following standard procedure for a hostage rescue. You wait until there is distance between the 2 and then you act. It makes no sense to do it otherwise… You're first goal is to bring her home. Your second goal is to arrest him alive. The first one has to take precedence..." says Moore. (WATCH VIDEO)