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Amber Alert: Relationship between missing girl, suspect unclear

James Lee DiMaggioCNN (tv network)Anderson CooperHannah AndersonAMBER Alert

BOULEVARD, Calif. -- San Diego County sheriff's officials said they're still trying to sort out the relationship between a missing 16-year-old girl and the man who is suspected of abducting her and killing her mother and brother.

San Diego County Sheriff's Capt. Duncan Fraser said authorities are aware of rumors of a possible relationship between Hannah Anderson and James Lee DiMaggio, but do not know whether they are true. The teen's friends have told various media outlets that DiMaggio had a crush on the girl, but that she was "creeped out" by the older man's interests.

DiMaggio was a longtime friend of the Anderson family and the children referred to him as "Uncle Jim," authorities said. 

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore told CNN's Anderson Cooper: "We know that they were lifelong friends. We're not exactly sure what that relationship was. We don't know if Hannah's with him willingly or not. We just don't know right now."

A murder warrant has been issued for DiMaggio, who is suspected of kidnapping 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and killing her mother and 8-year-old brother. An Amber Alert was extended Wednesday afternoon to Oregon and Washington. 

Although the alert noted that DiMaggio might be traveling to Canada and that a car matching the description of his blue Nissan Versa was spotted driving north on U.S. 395 toward the Oregon border, Fraser said that none of the tips have panned out and there have been no confirmed sightings.

DiMaggio is considered "armed and dangerous" and Hannah is believed to be in "serious danger," he said. 

DiMaggio lived in Boulevard, just north of the Mexican border, and his burning home was discovered Sunday evening. The body of Christine Anderson, 44, was found inside. A child's badly burned body was also discovered and believed to be that of Ethan Anderson, 8.

DiMaggio worked as a telecommunications technician at Scripps Institute in San Diego. His neighbors said they were stunned by news that he is suspected of such brutal crimes. 

One of DiMaggio's neighbors said they chatted across their shared chain-link fence, and another said DiMaggio told him he was pleased with the gas mileage on his new blue Nissan. When Christina Anderson brought her children to visit, he offered his home and yard for the other neighborhood children to play.

"There are some people, when something like this happens, that say, 'This doesn't surprise me,'" said Tom Calgaro, who lives next to DiMaggio. "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.'" 

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kate.mather@latimes.com

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James Lee DiMaggioCNN (tv network)Anderson CooperHannah AndersonAMBER Alert
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