Hannah Anderson a victim, even with calls, letters, officials say

Although search warrants in the Hannah Anderson case revealed extensive communication between the 16-year-old and the man who allegedly kidnapped her after killing her mother and brother, San Diego County sheriff’s officials maintained Friday that they still considered the teen a victim.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said the department’s investigation was ongoing and declined to comment on the specifics of the search warrants released this week.

But she reiterated previous comments from Sheriff Bill Gore, who said Hannah “was not a willing participant.”

PHOTOS: Search for missing teen


“As Sheriff Gore said earlier in the week, Hannah is a victim in every sense of the word,” Caldwell said in an email. “Our follow-up investigation has not changed that sentence." 

The multistate search for the Lakeside teen began Aug. 4, when the bodies of her mother and 8-year-old brother were found in James DiMaggio’s burning home in eastern San Diego County. Hannah and DiMaggio were found six days later, in a remote stretch of Idaho backcountry about 75 miles north of Boise.

Hannah was rescued; authorities said DiMaggio was shot and killed by FBI agents.

The search warrants provided some insight into the investigation, including the communication between Hannah and DiMaggio. Letters from Hannah were among the items seized from his home, the documents showed, and investigators said the teen and DiMaggio “called each other approximately 13 times” before their cellphones were shut off about 4 p.m. Aug. 4.


The documents did not specify during what time period the calls occurred. They also did not detail what the letters -- along with a handwritten note that was seized from DiMaggio’s property -- said.

Investigators also collected duct tape and handcuff boxes from DiMaggio’s home, along with a Yosemite camping printout, cut electrical cords, model rocket containers and two used condoms, the documents said.

Computers, papers, photos and a journal were among the items seized from the Andersons’ Lakeside apartment, additional warrants showed.

Authorities allege DiMaggio set up a trap by asking the family to come to his home so he could say goodbye before he moved to Texas.

Christina Anderson’s body was found in a standalone garage, with blood near her head and a crowbar nearby, the warrants said. Her son’s body was later found burned in the home. Both had been “tortured and killed,” the documents noted.

The family’s “medium brown dog” was also found shot to death under a sleeping bag, the warrants said.

Investigators believe the fires were set separately, possibly with timing devices and accelerant, arson specialists said in seeking one of the search warrants. The one fire could not have migrated to the other location, they said.

Investigators later found incendiary devices and “arson wire” on the property, the documents revealed.


DiMaggio was so close a friend to the Anderson family that the children called him “Uncle Jim,” authorities said. One of the warrants noted he and Hannah had been on “multiple day trips,” most recently visiting Malibu and Hollywood.

Hannah, who was reunited with her father after her rescue, attended a fundraiser held on her behalf Thursday at a Lakeside restaurant. She did not speak to reporters as she walked inside, but her father said she “sends her love” and was “doing good day by day.”


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Letters from Hannah Anderson, handcuff boxes found at DiMaggio’s home