Lakeside Teen Talks Abduction, Family Deaths On Social Media Site
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Lakeside teenager who was kidnapped and taken to Idaho by a family friend believed to have killed her mother and 8-year-old brother broke her silence on a social media website, writing in an hours-long question-answering session that the man tricked her family into visiting his home.
Hannah Anderson, 16, was reunited with her family this week after search crews spotted her and her kidnapper, 40-year-old James Lee DiMaggio of Boulevard, a longtime close friend of her family, in an Idaho wilderness area Saturday afternoon and fatally shot him.
On the ask.fm website, she fielded questions from anonymous members from across the country, and said she, her mother and brother were essentially duped by DiMaggio to visit him.
"He told us he was losing his house because of money issues so we went up there one last time to support him, and to have fun riding go karts up there but he tricked us,'' she wrote.
She said on the site that DiMaggio tied up her 8-year-old brother Ethan and 44-year-old mother Christina Anderson in the garage, before driving away with her toward Idaho. Hannah confirmed she did not know that her brother and mother had died until after she was rescued, and said DiMaggio rigged his house to catch fire after they left.
Asked what she would like to say to her mother and brother, she responded, "That I'm sorry it ended like that. I wish I could go back in time and risk my life to try and save theirs. I will never forgive myself for not trying harder to save them.''
San Diego County Sheriff's Department public information officer Jan Caldwell said the department was aware of Hannah's online posts, but "we won't be making any comments'' about them.
The girl, who went missing Aug. 3, was rescued Saturday after a federal agent fatally shot DiMaggio during an exchange of gunfire in Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said.
A day after Hannah disappeared, the badly burned bodies of the woman and child were found along with the remains of their family dog in the embers of DiMaggio's fire-gutted log cabin-style home in Boulevard.
Investigators were led to Idaho after DiMaggio and Hannah were spotted in the wilderness by a group of horseback riders. Hannah wrote on the website that she tried to be calm when they encountered the group.
"I didn't want them to get hurt. I was scared that he would kill them,'' she wrote.
She said she suffered only a twisted knee in the ordeal, and said she didn't try to run away because "he would have killed me.''
Asked if DiMaggio had a crush on her, Hannah wrote, "Yes he did he said it was more of a family crush like he had feelings as in he wanted nothing bad to happen to me.''
She noted, however, that DiMaggio only took her with him "to basically use me to carry his (expletive) to the river.''
"I had to carry 50 pound backpacks up mountains back and forth,'' she wrote.
She said her abductor "had a gun and threatened to kill me and anyone who tried to help.''