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National & World News

VIDEO: Hannah Anderson speaks out


Photo courtesy NBC News

SAN DIEGO — In her first television interview since she was freed following an alleged kidnapping this month, Hannah Anderson described herself as a survivor, and thanked those who have supported her.

“In the beginning I was a victim, but now knowing everyone out there is helping me, I consider myself a survivor instead,” she told NBC News. “My mom raised me to be strong.”

The full interview is set to air Thursday morning on the network’s “Today” show.

James DiMaggio allegedly kidnapped Hannah on August 4. Police later found the bodies of her mother and brother at DiMaggio’s burned home, about an hour east of San Diego.

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By Kate Mather

Los Angeles Times

The family of Hannah Anderson responded Wednesday to suggestions that the man who allegedly kidnapped the Lakeside, Calif., teenager may have been her biological father, saying her parents met James DiMaggio when her mother was pregnant.

hannah8Stacy Hess, a spokeswoman for the Anderson family, released a statement to The Los Angeles Times via email.

“Brett and Tina Anderson met Mr. DiMaggio when Tina was in her sixth month of pregnancy with Hannah,” the statement said. “Brett Anderson’s DNA was used to identify the body of his dead son Ethan Anderson.”

The comments came after reports surfaced that DiMaggio’s sister was seeking a paternity test to determine if her brother was the biological father of 16-year-old Hannah or 8-year-old Ethan, whose body — along with his mother’s — was found in DiMaggio’s charred home earlier this month.

Andrew Spanswick, a spokesman for the DiMaggio family, said Lora Robinson had asked the coroner for DNA samples as part of her effort to “get to the bottom of what’s going on.”

“There were rumors that were circulating and she got wrapped up in the rumors,” Spanswick said. “She doesn’t know one way or the other. It’s a question that’s out there.”

Spanswick said Robinson was “not trying to cause any more pain for the Anderson family” but that she’s trying to determine what the motive behind her brother’s actions might have been. She has also asked authorities to examine some of the evidence, he said, including DiMaggio’s gun, a photo of DiMaggio and Hannah taken at a Border Patrol checkpoint, and letters from the teenager found at his home.

“We’d just like some more information,” Spanswick said. “It just doesn’t add up.”

The development was the latest in a series of new details trickling out of the case, which began Aug. 4 when the bodies of Hannah’s mother and brother were found at DiMaggio’s burning property in eastern San Diego County. The search — which triggered Amber Alerts across much of the West — ended six days later, when FBI agents found Hannah and DiMaggio at a campsite in a stretch of rural Idaho back \country.

Hannah was rescued safely. DiMaggio, who authorities said fired at least once at the agents before he was killed, was shot at least five times in the head and body, the Valley County, Idaho, coroner said.

On Monday, Spanswick said DiMaggio left $112,000 in life insurance to Hannah’s paternal grandmother. The money designated to Bernice Anderson was intended to go to Hannah and her brother, he said.

On Tuesday, San Diego County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said a photo of Hannah and DiMaggio in his Nissan Versa was snapped at a Border Patrol checkpoint on Old Highway 8. The photo was taken at 12:10 a.m. on Aug. 4; the fire at DiMaggio’s property didn’t start until about 8 p.m. that day.

Search warrants revealed incendiary devices and “arson wire” were found at his home. The photo was further evidence DiMaggio planned his actions, Caldwell said.

“Because the fire erupted several hours after, we knew he had a good head start on us and our work was cut out for us,” she said.

It remains unclear when Christina and Ethan Anderson were killed. Coroner’s officials confirmed Monday that Christina Anderson died of blunt force injury to the head, but said it was unknown when her fatal injuries occurred. Details of Ethan’s death were pending, officials said Tuesday.

Sheriff’s officials have stressed that Hannah was a “victim in every sense of the word” and was “not a willing participant.” The teen has since returned to California, where she is with friends and family.

Hannah is to give her first media interview on Thursday, on NBC’s Today show.




National & World News

DiMaggio’s family wants Hannah’s DNA

SAN DIEGO — James DiMaggio’s family is requesting DNA samples from the family of Hannah Anderson, the 16-year-old girl he’s accused of kidnapping and whose mother and brother were found dead in his burned home.

The reason? They want to know if he was Hannah and 8-year-old Ethan’s biological father, a family spokesman said.

“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,” family spokesman Andrew Spanswick told CNN affiliate KGTV. “There has been a lot of rumors that Jim might be the father of either or both children.”


(Photo: Howard Lipin/U-T San Diego/ZUMA)

Reached by CNN, Spanswick said DiMaggio’s sister, Lora, is making the request, but would not elaborate further.

A representative for the Anderson family appeared to shoot down the theory.

“Brett and Tina Anderson did not meet Mr. DiMaggio until the sixth month of Tina’s pregnancy with Hannah. Brett Anderson’s DNA was used to identify the body of his dead son Ethan Anderson,” the family statement said.

For more on this CNN story, click here.


This was Hannah Anderson’s first public appearance, coming several days after she was rescued from her alleged abductor. She is shown arriving for a fundraiser for her and her family in Lakeside, Calif. (Photo: Howard Lipin/U-T San Diego/ZUMA)

By Kate Mather

Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO — Nearly 20 hours before James DiMaggio‘s house caught fire, the 40-year-old was already on the road with San Diego County teenager Hannah Anderson, as evidenced by a photograph taken at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint, officials said Tuesday.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said DiMaggio and the 16-year-old were photographed in his Nissan Versa at a westbound Old Highway 8 checkpoint at 12:10 a.m. on Aug 4.

The fire at DiMaggio’s property in Boulevard — which triggered the multistate search for Hannah — was reported about 8 p.m. that day.

“Because the fire erupted several hours after, we knew he had a good head start on us and our work was cut out for us,” Caldwell said.

San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore previously said authorities believe DiMaggio planned his actions, and search warrants revealed incendiary devices and arson wire were found on his property. The photograph was further evidence that the fires were set after DiMaggio fled the area, Caldwell said.

Search warrants released last week indicated Hannah was picked up from a cheerleading practice the afternoon of Aug. 4, but Caldwell said Tuesday that the practice was actually the day before.

It remains unclear when Hannah’s mother and brother — whose bodies were found on DiMaggio’s property — were killed.

Coroner’s officials confirmed Monday that Christina Anderson died of blunt force injury to the head, but said it was unknown when her fatal injuries occurred. Details of 8-year-old Ethan’s death have not been released.

Search warrants released last week said the two had been “tortured and killed,” but did not elaborate.

The case drew national attention as the search for Hannah and DiMaggio spread, triggering Amber Alerts across much of the West. The two were eventually tracked to a remote stretch of Idaho backcountry, where FBI agents raided their campsite on Aug. 10.

Hannah was rescued safely. DiMaggio, who authorities said fired at least once at the agents before he was killed, was shot at least five times in the head and torso, the Valley County, Idaho, coroner said.

DiMaggio left $112,000 in life insurance to Hannah’s grandmother, a DiMaggio family spokesman said Monday.

Sheriff’s officials have stressed that Hannah was a “victim in every sense of the word” and was “not a willing participant.” The teen has since returned to California, where she is with friends and family.

Caldwell said Tuesday that detectives now are working to “close the book” on the case.

“Our investigation is winding down, and we hope that the attention does as well,” Caldwell said. “Because we hope that Hannah and her family can begin this arduous process of grieving and learning how to deal with the new normal that they have.”

By Kate Mather and Tony Perry

Los Angeles Times

Although search warrants in the Hannah Anderson case revealed extensive communication between the 16-year-old and the man who allegedly kidnapped her after killing her mother and brother, San Diego County sheriff’s officials maintained that they still consider the teen a victim.

San Diego County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said late Friday the department’s investigation was ongoing and declined to comment on the specifics of the search warrants released this week.

But she reiterated previous comments from Sheriff Bill Gore, who said Hannah “was not a willing participant.”

“As Sheriff Gore said earlier in the week, Hannah is a victim in every sense of the word,” Caldwell said in an email. “Our follow-up investigation has not changed that sentence.”

The multi-state search for the Lakeside teen began Aug. 4, when the bodies of her mother and 8-year-old brother were found in DiMaggio’s burning home in eastern San Diego County. Hannah and DiMaggio were found six days later, in a remote stretch of Idaho backcountry about 75 miles north of Boise.

Hannah was rescued; authorities said DiMaggio was shot and killed by FBI agents.

The search warrants provided some insight into the investigation, including the communication between Hannah and DiMaggio. Letters from Hannah were among the items seized from his home, the documents showed, and investigators said the teen and DiMaggio “called each other approximately 13 times” before their cellphones were shut off about 4 p.m. Aug. 4.

The documents did not specify during what time period the calls occurred. They also did not detail what the letters — along with a handwritten note that was seized from DiMaggio’s property — said.

Investigators also collected duct tape and handcuff boxes from DiMaggio’s home, along with a Yosemite camping printout, cut electrical cords, model rocket containers and two used condoms, the documents said.

Computers, papers, photos and a journal were among the items seized from the Andersons’ Lakeside apartment, additional warrants showed.

Authorities allege DiMaggio set up a trap by asking the family to come to his home so he could say goodbye before he moved to Texas.

Christina Anderson’s body was found in a standalone garage, with blood near her head and a crowbar nearby, the warrants said. Her son’s body was later found burned in the home. Both had been “tortured and killed,” the documents noted.

The family’s “medium brown dog” was also found shot to death under a sleeping bag, the warrants said.

Investigators believe the fires were set separately, possibly with timing devices and accelerant, arson specialists said in seeking one of the search warrants. The one fire could not have migrated to the other location, they said.

Investigators later found incendiary devices and “arson wire” on the property, the documents revealed.

DiMaggio was so close a friend to the Anderson family that the children called him “Uncle Jim,” authorities said. One of the warrants noted he and Hannah had been on “multiple day trips,” most recently visiting Malibu and Hollywood.

Hannah, who was reunited with her father after her rescue, attended a fundraiser held on her behalf Thursday at a Lakeside restaurant. She did not speak to reporters as she walked inside, but her father said she “sends her love” and was “doing good day by day.”



(CNN) — The California man who kidnapped 16-year-old Hannah Anderson “tortured and killed” her mother and brother before snatching her as she left cheerleading practice, according to formerly sealed warrants that were released Wednesday.

Investigators did not detail in the warrants how the torture was carried out, but they did reveal new details about how authorities believe James Lee DiMaggio carried out the killings and abduction.

“DiMaggio tortured and killed his best friend’s wife and eight-year-old son. DiMaggio also shot and killed the family dog,” according to one of the affidavits. “After the double homicide, DiMaggio set the house on fire.”

The details were revealed the same day that a preliminary autopsy showed that DiMaggio was shot at least five times by an FBI tactical agent during a confrontation in the Idaho wilderness over the weekend. That confrontation ended a massive manhunt that began in San Diego County, Calif., after authorities found the bodies of Hannah’s mother and brother in his burned out home.

DiMaggio sustained at least five gunshot wounds to his upper torso, arms and head, Valley County, Idaho, Coroner Nathan Hess said. An exact cause of death will not be formally released until toxicology tests have been completed in six to eight weeks, he said.

The first indication of a problem came the night of Aug. 4, when firefighters and sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a fire at DiMaggio’s log cabin.As firefighters were trying to put out the blaze, they noticed flames in the home’s detached garage. A couple of firefighters quickly doused that fire while others focused on putting out the fire engulfing the cabin.

Inside the garage, a fire captain discovered the body of Hannah’s mother, 44-year-old Christina Anderson, face down in the garage, covered with a tarp. The documents revealed that a crowbar and what appeared to be blood were found next to Anderson’s head.

Near the body, sheriff’s deputies found the body of a dog covered by a sleeping bag, according to the affidavits. What appeared to be blood was found near the dog’s head, the documents said.

As firefighters and investigators were making their way through the burned out remains of the house, they found the badly burned remains of a small child, the affidavits said.

Authorities issued a nationwide Amber Alert for Hannah and Ethan on August 5, but the documents revealed that authorities suspected the remains were those of the boy.

Warrants also were sought by the San Diego County sheriff’s investigators to place “tap and trace devices” on DiMaggio’s e-mail, Facebook and cell phone accounts as well as Hannah’s phone, e-mail and social media accounts.

In the affidavits, authorities indicated that Hannah’s cell phone was turned off on the afternoon of Aug. 4, the same day and about the same time she was picked up from cheerleading practice at her high school. The affidavit does not identify who picked her up.

Shortly before her phone was turned off, there were 13 calls that day between Hannah and DiMaggio, according to the warrants.

SAN DIEGO — Hannah Anderson did what any teenage girl would do after a life-changing ordeal: she discussed it with peers online.

The 16-year-old reportedly fielded anonymous questions on website, where she shared details about her abduction by the man she knew as uncle Jim, James DiMaggio.

She did not want to go with him, and did not escape after she was abducted out of fear he would kill her, she said in the postings. And, she added, she’s “absolutely” glad he is dead.

Dawn MacNabb, whose son is one of her closest friends, confirmed to the Associated Press that the postings on were by Hannah. She said her son spoke on the phone with Hannah on Tuesday and urged her to delete some of the postings.

CNN could not independently verify whether the postings were hers. The San Diego Police Department said it is aware of the postings, but declined to confirm whether they were from her.

hannah5The California teenager was rescued Saturday after family friend DiMaggio held her hostage for a week after killing her mother and brother. Her frantic search stretched from southern California to the Idaho wilderness, where she was found at a campsite by a mountain lake.

‘He was my dad’s best friend’

During the session, one user asked her if she wanted to go with DiMaggio.

“No, not at all,” she said.

Why didn’t you run?

“He would have killed me,” she said.

Why didn’t you tell your parents he creeped you out?

“In part, he was my dad’s best friend and I didn’t want to ruin anything between them,” she said.

Tied up in a garage

Hannah shed new light on the night she was kidnapped — the same night her mother and younger brother were killed and their bodies burned in DiMaggio’s house.

“How did he separate you from your mom and brother?” a user asked.

She said he tied them up in the garage.

“How did he keep the fire a secret?”

Her response: “He had it set where it would catch on fire at a certain time.”

DiMaggio threatened to kill her if she fled and brought her at least in part, to help carry equipment in the wilderness, she said.

Glad kidnapper is dead

Some questions were brutally blunt.

“Did he rape you?

Hannah declined to answer that question.

“I’m not allowed to talk about it, so don’t ask questions about it, thank you,” she said.

Are you glad he’s dead?

“Absolutely,” she said.

Psychotherapist: ‘In a numb state’

Some experts questioned the wisdom of the online chats.

“This is a 16-year-old who’s totally traumatized, she’s in a state of trauma and so she’s not thinking,” psychotherapist Wendy Walsh said. “Sometimes in a numb state, you do things that you don’t really consider the consequences.”

The teen even posted a selfie … a self portrait of one’s face posted online. She also engaged in lighter conversation, but even some of that seemed painful.

For more on this CNN story, click here.



By Tony Perry and Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times
calif amber alert hannahSAN 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, Gore said.

The girl only learned that James Lee DiMaggio, killed Saturday by law enforcement, is believed to have slain her mother and 8-year-old brother after Hannah was rescued and recovering in the hospital, 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,” Gore said in an interview with The Times.

Gore also spoke at a press conference 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 counseling, Gore said.

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.

Gore said only that he does not believe it was “spur of the moment.”

In an interview, 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 Aug. 4, when firefighters found the bodies of Hannah’s mother and younger brother at DiMaggio’s burning home in the community of Boulevard, east of San Diego.

The girl’s disappearance prompted missing-child Amber Alert text messages to the public in several Western states. It was the first time in California that a statewide Amber Alert was sent by text messages to almost all cellphone users.

FBI officials said they are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of DiMaggio in Idaho. DiMaggio fired at least once, although they declined to say whether he fired the first shot.

Gore said investigators may never know what prompted DiMaggio’s alleged crimes.

“Frequently when these terrible acts occur, these horrible crimes, with the subject dead, you just can’t come up with a motive,” Gor