Kidnapping of Hannah Anderson
|Kidnapping of Hannah Anderson|
Murders: 2071 Ross Avenue, Boulevard, California|
Abduction: National City, California to Cascade, Idaho
|Date||August 3–10, 2013|
|Murder, arson, child abduction|
|Deaths||3 (including the suspected perpetrator)|
|James Lee DiMaggio|
On or about the afternoon of August 3, 2013, 16-year-old Hannah Anderson (born July 22, 1997) was abducted after cheerleading practice from El Capitan High School in Lakeside, CA. The suspect was later identified by authorities as 40-year-old James DiMaggio, owner of a home in Boulevard, California, about an hour away, where Anderson, her mother Christina and brother Ethan had been overnight guests the previous evening.
The bodies of Christina and Ethan Anderson and the family dog, Cali, were later found in DiMaggio's burned home. An AMBER alert was issued for Hannah Anderson, who was found alive in Cascade, Idaho on August 10, a week after she was abducted. DiMaggio was killed by FBI agents during a shootout at the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho, where he had been camping with Anderson.
Abduction and manhunt
James DiMaggio had invited Christina Anderson and her children to his home at 2071 Ross Avenue in Boulevard, ostensibly to say goodbye because he was planning to move to Texas. The Anderson family, who lived about 45 miles (72 km) away in Lakeside, stayed over at his home. The children's father, Brett Anderson, was on a three-month job in Tennessee at the time.
On August 4, a fire was reported at DiMaggio's house in Boulevard, where firemen found the bodies of Anderson's mother, Christina, her eight-year-old brother Ethan, and the family dog Cali. Christina Anderson died of blunt force trauma, believed to have been caused by a crowbar. She was apparently tortured, and her body covered with a tarp. Cali was shot dead and covered with a sleeping bag. An arrest warrant was issued for DiMaggio.
In late September 2013, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's office released results of the autopsies of Christina and Ethan Anderson. The autopsy of Christina Anderson found that a plastic cable tie had been used to bind her ankles, and that duct tape was wrapped around her neck and mouth. Her right arm and both legs were fractured, and there was a cut on her neck. She had been struck at least twelve times in the head. The autopsy of Ethan Anderson determined that the boy died because of the fire, though he also had skeletal fractures that could have been caused by events the day of the murders.
On August 4, 2013, Anderson's grandparents called the police and reported their grandchildren missing, prompting police to issue a statewide AMBER Alert, the first alert sent out to cellphones in California. As the child's body found in the burned-out home was burned beyond recognition, the AMBER Alert included both Hannah and Ethan Anderson. The manhunt stretched from British Columbia, Canada to Baja California, Mexico.
Sightings in Idaho
On August 7, two people matching the description of DiMaggio and Anderson were seen by horseback riders in Cascade, Idaho. The next day, authorities were notified of this sighting after the riders watched a news report about the abduction.
Shooting and rescue
According to Anderson, James DiMaggio, while they were fugitives, had threatened to kill her and anyone who tried to rescue her. On the same day that the sightings were reported, DiMaggio's car, a blue Nissan Versa, was discovered near the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The car's license plates had been removed and brush was used to hide the vehicle.
On August 10, police discovered DiMaggio's campsite and an FBI tactical agent killed DiMaggio near Morehead Lake around 5:00 p.m. DiMaggio fired at least one shot at the officers, causing the officers to fire back killing him. DiMaggio was shot six times: in the head, arms, and upper torso. Anderson had no visible injuries, but was taken to a local hospital for crisis counseling. Afterwards, when asked if she was glad James DiMaggio was dead, Hannah Anderson responded, "Absolutely yes".
James Everet Lee DiMaggio, Jr. (January 17, 1973 – August 10, 2013), age 40, was a telecommunications technician in San Diego. According to a friend of DiMaggio, his father, James Everet Lee Sr., died exactly 15 years to the day before his son. The friend said the elder DiMaggio, who was accused of attempting in 1988 to kidnap the 16-year-old daughter of an ex-girlfriend, committed suicide on August 10, 1998. However, public records indicate that his suicide was committed on August 10, 1995.
DiMaggio was said to be the best friend of Christina's husband, Brett Anderson, and he was like an uncle to the children. He had helped them with various tasks, such as driving Hannah and a friend from a gymnastics meet, during which he had unnerved her by saying he would like to date her, if they were the same age. During a trip to Los Angeles with Anderson, DiMaggio also complained she "wasn't paying enough attention to him." Anderson's friends said she did not like being alone with him and was "creeped out" by his comments on the drive from the meet.
DiMaggio listed Brett Anderson's mother as the beneficiary to his life insurance in 2011, while he lived with her. He intended the $112,000 for the children, but did not trust their parents to handle it. This revelation prompted members of DiMaggio's family to request a paternity test to determine if he fathered the Anderson children. Brett called the suggestion "disgusting" and an Anderson family spokeswoman said DiMaggio had not met Christina till she was six months pregnant with Hannah. The DiMaggio family later withdrew their request for DNA testing.
According to released warrants, DiMaggio received letters from Anderson which were found in his home by investigators, and exchanged over a dozen calls with her before the murders occurred. However, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said Anderson was "a victim in every sense of the word" and did not willingly go with DiMaggio. Investigators do not suspect any complicity on her part. Gore also suggested that authorities may never be able to fully determine the reason for DiMaggio's crime rampage.
In popular culture
- In May 2015, the Lifetime TV network aired the made-for-TV movie Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story starring Jessica Amlee as Hannah Anderson, Scott Patterson as James DiMaggio, and Brian McNamara as Brett Anderson. Anderson was disappointed by the Lifetime movie. She angrily posted on her Instagram page that she never gave her permission or information for this movie and that even the preview contained false facts and untrue events. She later filed a lawsuit against Lifetime.
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- Eichel, Molly (May 1, 2015). "'Cleveland Abduction' continues the public obsession with kidnapping stories". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
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