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Originally published August 8, 2013 at 7:54 PM | Page modified August 8, 2013 at 10:31 PM

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Amber Alert for man suspected in teen’s abduction, fatal fire

The Washington State Patrol has responded to several unconfirmed sightings of a blue Nissan Versa linked to the abduction of a 16-year-old Southern California girl.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The Washington State Patrol responded to several unconfirmed sightings of a blue Nissan Versa linked to the abduction of a 16-year-old Southern California girl.

James Lee DiMaggio, 40, is suspected of abducting Hannah Anderson and wanted in connection with the death of her mother and a child who might be her 8-year-old brother. The two bodies were found in the charred remains of DiMaggio’s San Diego County home last weekend.

California authorities said evidence found in the remains of DiMaggio’s house suggested he may have fled with homemade explosives and that his car might be booby-trapped. San Diego County Sheriff’s Capt. Duncan Fraser declined to elaborate on the nature of the evidence. Investigators suspect DiMaggio might be headed to Canada, which is why the California Alert was expanded into the Northwest on Wednesday.

By Thursday, the alert was expanded to four Western states, as well as Mexico and Canada.

For thousands, the Amber Alert was sent via cellphones on a feature that allows government agencies to notify them about emergencies. The Wireless Emergency Alert program that sent out the alert is a partnership between the wireless industry group, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission.

Washington State Patrol Sgt. Jason Hicks said several of the sightings reported in Washington have been in the south part of the state, around Vancouver. Two reports late Thursday afternoon came from Lewis and Thurston counties, Hicks said. The one in Thurston County sounded the most promising, Hicks said, since it was a report of a car matching the description speeding northward. But that report had not yielded results by Thursday evening.

The State Patrol is looking into every reported sighting, no matter how vague, Hicks said. The Vessel and Terminal Security, a department of the State Patrol devoted to policing the state’s ports and ferries, is also on the lookout for DiMaggio, he said. Every report the State Patrol had received resulted in no car found or the wrong car, Hicks said.

Oregon State Police said there was a possible sighting of DiMaggio’s blue Nissan Versa in Northern California near Alturas on Wednesday, followed by another about 50 miles along the same highway near Lakeview, in south-central Oregon.

Anderson’s 8-year-old brother, Ethan, might also be with the two, though investigators said a charred body discovered along with the mother’s body could be the boy’s.

DiMaggio is driving a 2013 blue Nissan Versa with the California license plate 6WCU986.

DiMaggio, a telecommunications technician at The Scripps Research Institute, was like an uncle to Hannah Anderson and Ethan, and close to their parents for years, family members say.

The missing girl’s father, Brett Anderson, appeared on television Thursday to appeal to the kidnapper to let his daughter go.

Investigators believe DiMaggio may have had an “unusual infatuation” with Hannah, Fraser said.

Colin Campbell: 206-464-2033 or ccampbell@seattletimes.com. On Twitter, @cmcampbell

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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