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Sister of alleged Hannah Anderson kidnapper: 'There's no evidence'

Hannah AndersonJames Lee DiMaggioFBICNN (tv network)

The sister of the man accused of kidnapping Hannah Anderson defended her brother in her first interview since he was shot and killed by the FBI, raising questions about James DiMaggio’s alleged acts and recalling she told him the teenager was “trouble.”

Lora Robinson spoke to CNN's Piers Morgan on Tuesday night, defending her brother from the start of the interview. When Morgan asked if Robinson -- who he referred to as Lora DiMaggio -- knew “why he did it,” she fired back.

“‘How do you know that he did it?’ would be my question for you,” Robinson said. “There’s no evidence. The only evidence that’s even come forward at this point is the fact that these two bodies were found on his property.”

Authorities allege that James DiMaggio killed Hannah Anderson’s mother and 8-year-old brother at his San Diego County home before booby-trapping it with incendiary devices. The house caught fire Aug. 4, prompting what would become a multi-state search for DiMaggio and 16-year-old Hannah.

The six-day search ended more than 1,000 miles away in Idaho, where FBI agents raided a remote campsite where DiMaggio and Hannah were spotted. The girl was rescued safely; DiMaggio was shot and killed.

DiMaggio's sister expressed frustration at what she described as a lack of information from law enforcement officials.

“I think there’s a lot of holes in the case,” she said. “There’s a lot of missing information. I have yet to see any solid evidence."

“In my heart of hearts, I think that Hannah perhaps got herself into a situation that she couldn’t get herself out of,” Robinson continued. “And I do believe that my brother gave his life to protect her.”

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department authorities have insisted that Hannah was a victim “in every sense of the word.”

Robinson said her brother -- whom she described as Hannah’s father’s “best friend” --  was “a father figure and an uncle to the Anderson children” and that he “thought of Hannah as a daughter.”

When Morgan asked Robinson if she might be in denial over the accusations against her brother, she insisted that she had seen no evidence proving his alleged acts.

“What other explanation do you have?” Morgan said.

“Do you believe everything a 16-year-old tells you?” Robinson said.

“You think she’s just lying?” Morgan asked.

“I’m not going to speak to that,” Robinson responded as she sipped from her coffee mug.

Robinson said Hannah stayed at her home three weeks before she disappeared. She recalled “very vividly” telling DiMaggio “she’s trouble.”

“I said, ‘You need to watch out for that one, she’s trouble,’” Robinson said, later adding that she didn’t “want to bash anyone. It’s certainly not my intent.”

At one point, Robinson interrupted the host.

“Piers, can I stop you?” she said. “I would like to throw in there ... I would like to remind you that at this point, my brother is still a suspect. He is not a killer. He is accused, and again, it is alleged.”

Robinson insisted that she wanted more details about the investigation. As the only surviving member of DiMaggio’s immediate family, she said, she thought that authorities could “share a little bit” of the information with her.

She said she had spoken to Hannah’s father, Brett Anderson, after it was revealed DiMaggio left $112,000 in life insurance to the girl’s grandmother. The money was intended to go to Hannah and her brother, a DiMaggio family spokesman has said.

“My heart just breaks for Brett, really it does,” Robinson said.

In a statement provided to Morgan’s show, the Anderson family said it was “a difficult time for both families” and wished Robinson “privacy and peace as she begins her healing process.”

Robinson said she missed her brother “very much.”

“It’s very hard to believe that someone who was just so genuine and so dependable every single solitary day just woke up one day and decided, ‘I’m going to do this,’” Robinson said. “It’s very difficult to believe.”

“I'm not in any way excusing ... I'm not saying that he didn't have any part in it," she said. "But what I'd like to know is -- I’d like to have factual evidence of what exactly his part in it was. And when I have that evidence, I’ll go from there.”

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+

kate.mather@latimes.com

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