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Father Of San Diego Kidnapper Was Also Dangerously Obsessed With A 16-Year-Old

james-dimaggio.jpg
James Lee DiMaggio (Photo courtesy of CHP)
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The father of James DiMaggio—the San Diego kidnapper who was killed after abducting a 16-year-old and murdering her mother and brother—had a troubled, violent past and was similarly obsessed with a teenager. The woman who was the object of the elder DiMaggio's obsession back in 1988 spoke to San Diego channel CBS 8, but was still so scared that she wouldn't let her face be shown, even though both DiMaggios are now dead.

The younger DiMaggio was killed by police 18 years to the day after his father committed suicide. The date of his father's disappearance and his mother's death from cancer seem to have been triggers, since those anniversaries were the day before Hannah Anderson was abducted.

With her image blurred, the woman told CBS that DiMaggio's father, also named James, had been dating her mother and when they broke up, he began showering affection on her, even though she was 16 and he was 35.

"He had told me, that he only stuck around because he was in love with me, he wanted to take me away to a better life," she said.

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When she turned him down, he broke into her house with handcuffs and a shotgun and told her was going to kill her, her boyfriend and her brother.

"I asked him not to kill us, and he said, 'Don't worry you won't feel a thing.'"

She asked to use the bathroom and was able to escape. He later pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary the L.A Times reports. The other felony counts related to the incident were dismissed.

The case is mentioned in a San Diego Union-Tribune article from December 1989, which said he "was wearing a stocking mask and carrying a sawed-off shotgun... DiMaggio held the woman's teenage daughter and her boyfriend at gunpoint. The boyfriend was handcuffed to a bedpost, but the girl escaped after asking to use the bathroom. ... Neither victim was harmed."

He also served time for beating two people with a baseball bat because he believed they owed him money, according to Union Tribune reports at the time.

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The woman said to see that DiMaggio's son had acted out nearly the exact same scenario is frightening. "When I saw his name and picture, I instantly knew it was him," she told CBS. "When I saw the name, I seriously, my heart stopped for a second. I don't believe that you're born this way, but really to follow such a path as your father," she said. "It was almost a déjà vu... It was weird."

The woman said that she knew James Lee DiMaggio as "Jimmy" when he was 16 and they both attended El Cajon High.

One day, he gave her a message from his father. "I was walking to my locker and his son said, my dad is out, and he said to let you know he'll be waiting for you after school." That day she changed her name and moved and lived in hiding for the next 18 years.

She said she is praying for Hannah Anderson. "I think this girl's a strong girl and if she just keeps her wits and goes with the program, she can make it out. I feel so horrible."

According to CNN, that August 4, the day DiMaggio's mobile home was burned down with the bodies of Hannah Anderson's mother and younger brother inside, was just one day before DiMaggio's mother died of cancer years earlier.

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August 3 is also the date when DiMaggio's father "disappeared" prior to his suicide, Andrew Spanswick, a friend of the younger DiMaggio, told Piers Morgan Live.

Related:
Kidnap Victim Hannah Anderson Didn't Know Her Mother And Brother Were Dead
California Kidnapper Killed In Idaho, His 16-Year-Old Victim Is Safe
Amber Alert Kidnapping Suspect Reportedly Had A 'Crush' On 16-Year-Old, Search Expands To Mexico, Oregon