Amber Alert Kidnapping Suspect Reportedly Had A 'Crush' On 16-Year-Old, Search Expands To Mexico, Oregon
A possible motive has emerged in the shocking kidnapping of a San Diego teen and the murder of her mother. Suspect James Lee DiMaggio, 40, was a trusted family friend, but may have harbored inappropriate feelings towards 16-year-old Hannah Anderson.
An arrest warrant for murder has been issued for DiMaggio, after the body of Hannah's mother, Christina, was found in DiMaggio's burned-out house. They also found a second body that may belong to 8-year-old son, Ethan Anderson, although DNA testing is not yet complete.
The search, which prompted a statewide Amber Alert, has now expanded to Mexico and Oregon and Washington, according to the L.A. Times.
DiMaggio lived in Boulevard, just north of the Mexican border and the FBI is now working with Mexican officials, the Times reports. Sightings near the Oregon border suggest DiMaggio might be traveling to Canada, although tips have been pouring in from all over the country.
"We are following up on each and every one of them that seems to have merit," Sheriff's Lt. Glenn Giannantonio told the Times.
DiMaggio is believed to be driving a blue, four-door Nissan Versa, with the California license plate No. 6WCU986, although he may have switched vehicles.
Friends and family say they are shocked by the murder and abduction, especially because the Anderson children called DiMaggio "Uncle Jim." But DiMaggio's recent behavior raised some red flags.
"He had a crush on her, and she supposedly was really scared," family friend Tammi Paulson Anderson told KTLA. "She didn't want to go around him anymore, but she didn't know how to tell anyone."
Friends said that DiMaggio took the teenager on a week-long trip to Hollywood for her 16th birthday. After he reportedly became upset by the amount of time she was spending on her phone, the trip was cut short. She then refused to respond to DiMaggio's calls and text messages, friends say.
In the event of his arrest, a judge has already signed off on a $1 million bond, a San Diego County Superior Court spokesperson said.
"There are some people, when something like this happens, that say, 'This doesn't surprise me,'" said Tom Calgaro, who lives next to DiMaggio, told the Times. "This is not one of those. This is one of those typical things where neighbors are interviewed after something like this and they say, 'He was a nice guy.'"
If you see DiMaggio or Hannah Anderson, call 911. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the San Diego Sheriff's Department at (858) 565-5200.
UPDATE, 4:46 P.M.: CBS News is reporting evidence found in the remains of suspect DiMaggio's house suggested he may have fled with homemade explosives and that his car might be booby-trapped. Police have also speculated he may no longer be driving the Nissan Versa that was listed in the Amber Alert.
That alert has now gone out to several more states as the search widens to Oregon, Washington and Nevada, as well as Canada and Mexico.