New details on teen’s relationship with slain man
James Lee DiMaggio, called Uncle Jim by the family, exchanged phone calls with Hannah Anderson before her mother and brother were killed on his ranch and he fled with the 16-year-old, who was recovered over the weekend in Idaho.
By Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press
SAN DIEGO — A family friend tortured and killed a mother and her 8-year old son before setting his home on fire and escaping with the mother’s 16-year-old daughter, according to search warrants unsealed Wednesday.
The warrants do not describe the torture but say firefighters found the mother’s body in James Lee DiMaggio’s garage near a crowbar and what appeared to be blood next to her head. The family dog was found shot to death under a sleeping bag.
Investigators found the child’s body as they sifted through rubble.
DiMaggio and Hannah Anderson, 16, exchanged about 13 calls before the teen was picked up from cheerleading practice Aug. 4. Both phones were turned off and the home burned several hours later.
The warrants shed light on the Anderson family’s relationship with DiMaggio, 40, a telecommunications technician, whom the children called Uncle Jim. Hannah’s mother, Christina Anderson, 44, was described in one search warrant as DiMaggio’s “best friend’s wife.”
Although sheriff’s officials declined to state whether Hannah Anderson went with DiMaggio willingly during the early stages of the search, the search warrants clearly spell out that they feared she was in “grave” danger.
The warrants describe how DiMaggio took the teen on multiday trips, most recently to Malibu and Hollywood.
Hannah Anderson was rescued when FBI agents killed DiMaggio in the Idaho wilderness on Saturday, ending a six-day search that spanned much of the Western United States and parts of Canada and Mexico. Hannah Anderson described on a social-media site how she survived captivity and how she is coping with the deaths of her mother and brother.
“I wish I could go back in time and risk my life to try and save theirs. I will never forgive myself for not trying harder to save them,” she wrote.
The postings, which began Monday night and stopped Tuesday night, were on the ask.fm social-networking site under an account for “Hannahbanana722” of Lakeside, the San Diego suburb where the teen lived with her mother and brother. The account was disabled Wednesday.
DiMaggio was shot at least five times in the head and chest, according to authorities, who were unable to determine a precise number of gunshot wounds. DiMaggio’s body was cremated Tuesday near Los Angeles, said family spokesman Andrew Spanswick.
Police have said little about the investigation. A spokeswoman for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said authorities were aware of the online comments but did not confirm they were Anderson’s.
Dawn MacNabb, whose son, Alan, is one of Anderson’s closest friends, confirmed the postings were by the teen. Alan spoke on the phone with Anderson on Tuesday and urged her to delete some of the postings, MacNabb said.
Anderson declined interview requests from news organizations that posted to her account.
DiMaggio had invited the children and their mother to his house in Boulevard, a rural town 65 miles east of San Diego.
“He told us he was losing his house because of money issues so we went up there one last time to support him, and to have fun riding go karts up there but he tricked us,” Anderson wrote on the site.
She said she “basically” stayed awake for six straight days and repeatedly told her captor she was hungry. She couldn’t escape because DiMaggio had a gun and “threatened to kill me and anyone who tried to help.”
She said she was too frightened to ask for help when horseback riders encountered the pair in the remote wilderness on Aug. 7. The riders didn’t report the sightings to police until the next day, after returning home and learning about the search.
“I had to act calm I didn’t want them to get hurt,” she wrote. Asked if she would have preferred DiMaggio got a lifetime prison sentence instead of being killed, she said, “He deserved what he got.”
Associated Press writer Rebecca Boone contributed to this report.