SEATTLE — An Amber Alert was issued in Oregon and Washington state Wednesday for two California children believed to have been abducted by a 40-year-old murder suspect in eastern San Diego County and who may be driving toward Canada, authorities said.
The alert is for Hannah Anderson, 16, and her brother, Ethan Anderson, 8, although he is believed to be dead. Remains of a child were found in the suspect’s burned home, but there has not been a confirmation on the identity of the victim.
Hannah is believed to have been abducted by family friend James DiMaggio, 40. Authorities believe DiMaggio is driving a blue Nissan Versa, California license plate 6WCU986. If anyone sees it, they are urged to contact the Washington State patrol in Tacoma at 253-538-3240.
A vehicle related to the investigation was spotted Wednesday in southern Oregon near Lakeview at 2 p.m., according to Oregon State Police.
“The suspect is now believed to be possibly traveling to Canada,” according to the Washington alert.
The Amber Alert issued in Oregon noted that a car matching the suspect’s description was seen driving north on U.S. 395 near the town of Alturas, Calif., headed toward the Oregon border. The sighting was at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
San Diego County Sheriff’s Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said authorities have received “lots and lots of tips from across the country.”
“We are following up on each and every one of them that seems to have merit,” San Diego County Sheriff’s Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said.
At one point, authorities believed DiMaggio might be headed toward Texas.
The investigation began not far from the Mexican border in the rural community of Boulevard in eastern San Diego County on Sunday evening, when the body of 16-year-old Hannah Anderson’s mother, Christine Anderson, was found with the unidentified body of a child in DiMaggio’s burning home.
An autopsy on the child’s remains was performed Tuesday, but the autopsy results are sealed, officials said. It will be Friday at the earliest before the identity of the child is announced, Giannantonio said.
The body is believed to be 8-year-old Ethan Anderson, his family members have said in interviews with several news outlets.
Because the body was badly burned, it has been difficult to obtain a DNA sample, Giannantonio said.
Hannah’s aunt pleaded with the girl’s suspected kidnapper to bring her home.
“I want him to bring my niece home to her family,” Andrea Saincome said in an interview with Headline News, “She needs her family. And he needs to get her home.”
The FBI is assisting the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department in its investigation, said Darrell Foxworth, an FBI spokesman.
DiMaggio has known the family “for years,” Saincome told Headline News. There “was nothing out of the ordinary” about DiMaggio when she met him, she said. She said there was no romantic relationship between Christine Anderson and DiMaggio.
“He seemed like just a genuinely nice guy,” she told Headline News. “He was close to the kids, and … he was good friends with my sister and my brother-in-law.”
DiMaggio, who works as a telecommunications technician at Scripps Institute in San Diego, has been described by authorities as a close family friend whom the Anderson children called “Uncle Jim.”
The children’s father, Brett Anderson, is “a wreck,” Saincome said.
The case was the subject of California’s first Amber Alert text alert Monday and Tuesday. No one has seen Hannah Anderson or Ethan since their mother’s body was discovered, and DiMaggio disappeared over the weekend.
A Facebook page titled Prayers for Hannah Anderson has numerous comments from Hannah’s friends urging her safe return.
“You’re strong,” the creator of the page posted Wednesday afternoon. “If you can get the chance, take it…you will be found, I promise.”