San Diego: Law enforcement interviews with 16-year-old Hannah Anderson made it "very clear" that she is "a victim in every sense of the word", San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said.
The girl is "doing as well as can be expected" for someone who was kidnapped and held for days against her will "from the time she left Boulevard to the time she was recovered in Lake Morehead [Idaho]", Mr Gore said.
Hannah only learnt that James Lee DiMaggio, killed by law enforcement officers on Saturday, is believed to have killed her mother and eight-year-old brother after she was rescued and recovering in the hospital, Mr Gore said.
"Everybody, the FBI, our investigators, everybody are convinced that there is no way she was anything but the worst kind of victim in this," Mr Gore said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.
Mr Gore also spoke at a press conference on Monday afternoon alongside Hannah's father and FBI officials.
Brett Anderson thanked the public and media for their vigilance during the six days Hannah was missing. He also thanked the four horseback riders who spotted Hannah and DiMaggio in the Idaho wilderness, which ultimately became the key tip that helped crack the case.
"Without you, who knows how long this would have gone on," he said.
He then asked the media to give the family time to grieve and move on with the healing process.
"As for my daughter, the healing process will be slow. She has been through a tremendous, horrific ordeal," he said.
Hannah has returned to San Diego County with family and is undergoing counselling, Mr Gore said.
Mr Gore declined to reveal many more details of her abduction, saying only that it was "under extreme duress". He told The Times there were "extensive threats" and a weapon.
He also did not elaborate on earlier statements from authorities, who said they believe DiMaggio's crime spree was planned.
Mr Gore said only that he does not believe it was "spur of the moment."
In an interview, Mr Gore said he believes DiMaggio shielded Hannah from the killings of her mother and brother by keeping her in one area of the property where she couldn't see everything.
DiMaggio's death ended a tense, multi-state manhunt that began August 4, when firefighters found the bodies of Hannah's mother and brother at DiMaggio's burning home in the community of Boulevard, east of San Diego.
He fired at least one shot from "a shoulder weapon" on Saturday during the rescue, Mr Gore said.
"The first rule is to try to rescue the hostage here and hopefully take the subject alive. That did not happen in this case."
Hannah's father was reunited with his daughter on Sunday at an undisclosed hospital in Boise, where she was flown hours after her rescue. Hannah also rejoined her grey cat, which she had with her in the wilderness.
The massive search spanning much of the western United States and parts of Canada and Mexico probably would have taken longer if not for a sharp-eyed retired sheriff and three other horseback riders in the rugged backcountry who saw the pair on Wednesday.
Mark John, who retired as a Gem County sheriff in 1996, shared his suspicions with the Idaho State Police after encountering DiMaggio and the girl on the trail. That enabled investigators to focus efforts on a specific portion of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, a 5800-square-kilometre) roadless preserve in the heart of Idaho.
"They just didn't fit," said Mr John, 71. "He might have been an outdoorsman in California, but he was not an outdoorsman in Idaho. Red flags kind of went up."
Initially, it was the lack of openness on the trail and a reluctance to engage in the polite exchange of banter like so many other recreationists Mr John has encountered during horseback excursions.
The riders were puzzled why Hannah and DiMaggio were hiking in the opposite direction of their stated destination, the Salmon River.
But more than anything, it was their gear - or lack of it. Neither was wearing hiking boots or rain gear. DiMaggio, described as an avid hiker in his home state of California, was toting only a light pack. It even appeared Hannah was wearing pyjama bottoms.
The riders had a second encounter on Wednesday, this one at the lake as they were getting ready to head back down the trail. They saw Hannah Anderson soak her feet in the lake and again avoid interaction. Still, nothing about their behaviour raised suspicion that DiMaggio was wanted for murder and kidnapping.
"If she was sending us signals that she was in trouble, we didn't key in on it," Mary Young, 61, said at a news conference on Sunday in Boise.
It wasn't until Thursday afternoon when the Johns returned home and saw the girl's photographs on the news that they made a connection and notified police.
On Friday, police found DiMaggio's car, hidden under brush at a trailhead on the border of the wilderness area. A day later, searchers spotted the pair by air, and two FBI hostage teams moved in on the camp at Morehead Lake, about 8 miles inside the wilderness border and 40 miles east of the central Idaho town of Cascade.
Rescue teams were dropped by helicopter about 2 1/2 hours away from where Hannah and DiMaggio were spotted by the lake, said FBI spokesman Jason Pack. The team had to hike with up to 100 pounds of tactical gear along a rough trail characterised by steep switchbacks and treacherous footing.
The teams waited until Hannah and DiMaggio were no longer near each other before moving in.
The case began when the charred bodies of Hannah's mother, Christina Anderson, 44, and the teen's eight-year-old brother, Ethan Anderson, were found in DiMaggio's burning house in Boulevard, a small town 65 miles east of San Diego on the US-Mexico border.
DiMaggio was extraordinarily close to the family, driving Hannah to gymnastics meets and Ethan to football practice.
Authorities have said DiMaggio may have had an "unusual infatuation" with Hannah, although the father said he never saw any strange behaviour.
Valley County Coroner Nathan Hess was performing an autopsy on DiMaggio on Monday.