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Amber Alert for missing girl widened after 2 car sightings

BOULEVARD -- The car driven by a man who allegedly kidnapped a San Diego County girl after killing her mother and brother may have been spotted Wednesday both in Northern California and southern Oregon, officials said.

An Amber Alert for James Lee DiMaggio and his blue Nissan Versa was extended from California to Oregon and Washington late Wednesday afternoon.

The Amber Alert issued in Oregon noted that a car matching the suspect's description was seen driving north on U.S. 395 near the town of Alturas headed toward the Oregon border. The sighting was at 1:30 p.m. The Oregonian reported there was also a possible sighting near Lakeview in southern Oregon at 2 p.m.

"The suspect is now believed to be possibly traveling to Canada," the Washington alert said.

San Diego County Sheriff's Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said authorities have received "lots and lots of tips from across the country."

"We are following up on each and every one of them that seems to have merit," Giannantonio said. 

At one point, authorities believed DiMaggio might be headed toward Texas. 

The investigation began not far from the Mexican border in the rural community of Boulevard in eastern San Diego County on Sunday evening, when the body of Christine Anderson, 16-year-old Hannah Anderson's mother, was found with the unidentified body of a child in DiMaggio's burning home.

An autopsy on the child's remains was performed Tuesday, but the autopsy results are sealed, officials said. It will be Friday at the earliest before the identity of the child is announced, Giannantonio said.

The body is believed to be 8-year-old Ethan Anderson, his family members have said in interviews with several news outlets.

Because the body was badly burned, it has been difficult to obtain a DNA sample, Giannantonio said.

The case was the subject of California's first cellphone Amber Alert on Monday.

DiMaggio, who works as a telecommunications technician at Scripps Institute in San Diego, has been described by authorities as a close family friend whom the Anderson children called "Uncle Jim."

At a news conference Tuesday, the children's father, Brett Anderson, addressed DiMaggio directly: "Jim, I can't fathom what you were thinking. ... Let my daughter go, you've taken everything else."

Two sheriff's vehicles remained parked in front of DiMaggio's home Wednesday evening, blocking the road. Neighbors said that all that remained of the house, hidden by brush and some trees, was ashes. Police tape stretched across the entryways to the house, blocking any access.

Reporters and law enforcement vehicles swarmed the two-road neighborhood in the days after the fire, neighbors said. One resident said it was the most traffic he had seen in the area since he built his house there 40 years ago.

"You sure never expect it," said the neighbor, who declined to give his name. "No one really knows their neighbor."

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Twitter: @katemather

kate.mather@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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