Q&A about kidnapping of California girl
- Article by: ELLIOT SPAGAT
- Associated Press
- August 16, 2013 - 5:00 PM
SAN DIEGO — James Lee DiMaggio killed his close friend and her 8-year-old son on Aug. 4 at his rural house east of San Diego and fled with her 16-year-old daughter, authorities say.
After a massive six-day search that spanned much of the western United States and parts of Canada and Mexico, DiMaggio was killed by FBI agents in the Idaho wilderness. Hannah Anderson was rescued and returned to California.
Jan Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, said some questions involving the case may never be answered. Here's what is known, according to authorities and public statements by Hannah.
Q: Why do police believe DiMaggio killed Hannah's mother and brother? And how did he do it?
A: San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore has declined to comment on the motive but an investigator, Capt. Duncan Fraser, has said DiMaggio may have had "an unusual infatuation" with Hannah. A search warrant says DiMaggio tortured and killed 44-year-old Christina Anderson and 8-year-old Ethan Anderson at his home but does not provide details. The warrant says he also shot and killed the family dog. Hannah Anderson said in a posting on a social media site that her mother and brother were tied up in DiMaggio's garage. A crowbar was found near Christina Anderson's body in the garage and handcuff boxes were recovered from DiMaggio's home, which burned after an apparently intentional fire was set. Ethan's charred body was found inside.
Q: Why did Hannah's family go to DiMaggio's house?
A: DiMaggio was like an uncle to the Anderson children and the best friend of their father, Brett Anderson. Hannah said she went with her mother and brother to say goodbye to DiMaggio, who told them he was moving.
"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 her ask.fm social media account two days after her rescue.
Hannah's grandfather, Christopher Saincome, said DiMaggio told the Andersons he was moving to Texas.
Q: What was the relationship between Hannah and DiMaggio?
A: DiMaggio has been a constant presence in Hannah's life since she was born. He drove her to gymnastics meets and even took her on multi-day trips, most recently to Malibu and Hollywood. Hannah acknowledged being uncomfortable around DiMaggio even before the kidnap ordeal, saying he once told her that he was drawn to her.
"He said it was more like a family crush like he had feelings as in he wanted nothing bad to happen to me," she wrote.
She said she didn't tell her parents because of DiMaggio's close friendship with his father, "and I didn't want to ruin anything between them."
Q: Did Hannah want to run away with DiMaggio? Did she have anything to do with the crimes at his home?
A: Hannah exchanged about 13 phone calls with DiMaggio before she was picked up from cheerleading practice on Aug. 4, according to a search warrant that doesn't indicate the time, duration or content of the conversations. Investigators found letters from Hannah at DiMaggio's home in the rural town of Boulevard; authorities declined to discuss the contents.
Gore has been adamant that Hannah was an unwilling victim from start to finish. At a news conference, he said she was "a victim in every sense of the word."
Hannah said she didn't learn her mother and brother died until she was rescued.
Q: How did DiMaggio treat Hannah while they were on the run?
A: Hannah said she "basically" stayed awake for six straight days, and DiMaggio ignored her requests for food. She couldn't try to escape because DiMaggio had a gun and "threatened to kill me and anyone who tried to help."
Anderson said she was too frightened to ask for help when four horseback riders encountered the pair in the Idaho wilderness.
"I had to act calm I didn't want them to get hurt. I was scared that he would kill them," she wrote.
The riders reported the sightings the next day to the authorities, providing the key break in the search.
Q: What does Hannah plan to do now?
A: Hannah says she plans to return to El Capitan High School in Lakeside, an east San Diego suburb of 54,000 people. The incoming junior has a wide circle of friends, is on the school gymnastics team, and participates in an advanced dance class.
Brett Anderson told at least two people that he plans to move his daughter to his Tennessee home. He says he had been living separately from his wife because he took a job in that state.
© 2015 Star Tribune