Newly-unsealed search warrants released Wednesday in San Diego show kidnap victim Hannah Anderson and her abductor called each other 13 times in the hours before the teenager’s mother and brother were “tortured and killed.”
Officials say James Lee DiMaggio, a longtime family friend of the Andersons, abducted Hannah after killing her family members and setting fire to his property in Boulevard on Aug. 4.
The charred bodies of Lakeside resident Christina Anderson, 44, and her son, Ethan Anderson, 8, were discovered inside the log-cabin style home belonging to DiMaggio. The body of a dog was also found inside.
According to the documents, while DiMaggio’s home burned, firefighters noticed a glow and smoke coming from a nearby detached garage.
When officials searched the garage, they discovered Christina Anderson’s body covered by a green tarp, with her feet sticking out. There was a crowbar next to her head, which was bloodied.
Deputies later found the body of a dog inside the garage that also appeared to have been beaten to death. Initially, they did not find any other bodies.
Hours later, however, after learning that Hannah’s brother, Ethan, was missing, bomb-arson experts returned to the structure and found the charred remains of a small child.
The child’s body was so badly burnt that officials were not able to immediately positively identify the victim. A few days later, officials confirmed the body was, in fact, Ethan.
At the time of the warrant, investigators believed DiMaggio was the prime suspect behind the Boulevard fire, murders and kidnapping.
Detectives said DiMaggio -- who was a close, longtime friend of the Anderson family -- had “tortured and killed” Christina, Ethan and the family’s dog, but did not provide specifics.
The search warrant also reveals details about items found inside the Lakeside apartment where Christina, Ethan and Hannah Anderson lived.
The warrant offers a glimpse into the communication and relationship between Hannah and her alleged kidnapper, DiMaggio, before he fled San Diego with the teenager.
According to the documents, Hannah was last seen around 4 p.m. on Aug. 4 when someone picked her up from cheerleading practice.
Around that same time, Hannah and DiMaggio both turned off their cell phones.
However, phone records show that Hannah and DiMaggio had called each other 13 times before the phones were turned off.
At first, detectives were “not sure” if DiMaggio had taken the teen against her will, telling a judge “someone” had picked up Hannah at cheerleading practice four hours before her mother was found dead in DiMaggio’s Boulevard home.
Ultimately, however, detectives told a judge they believed Hannah was in “grave danger and being held against her will by DiMaggio.”
Throughout his time on the run from law enforcement, the warrant reveals that DiMaggio had been in constant communication with friends and family members, including his sister, Lora Robinson.
The documents reveal that, at one point, detectives believed Robinson was “possibly aiding” DiMaggio because she called her brother an “unusually large” number of times.
To aid in the investigation, the warrants reveal that detectives took six computers, at least two cameras, a camcorder and a photo album from the Anderson family’s apartment in Lakeside.
Investigators hoped those items would help them understand why Hannah had disappeared and possibly lead them to the teen and DiMaggio.
Hannah was the subject of an Amber Alert spanning six states.
DiMaggio, her suspected abductor, drove with Hannah from San Diego to Idaho backcountry near Cascade and Morehead Lake last week.
The pair was spotted by a group of horseback riders in the wilderness on Aug. 7, who then alerted officials. More than 200 federal, state and local law enforcement officials then descended on the rural Idaho backcountry in search of Hannah and DiMaggio.
On Saturday, an FBI search team found DiMaggio and Hannah in the rugged terrain, just a few miles from where they were spotted by the horseback riders.
Since the teen’s rescue, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore has said that Hannah was the victim of a “horrific” crime, and was taken against her will by DiMaggio.
As for warrants released Wednesday, it’s important to note that the documents do not reveal the full story. When they submitted the warrants, detectives could only tell the judge what they knew or suspected at the time.
The investigation into the case is ongoing.
See all of the SEARCH WARRANTS linked to this case here:
- Boulevard property/Lakeside apartment search warrant
- Cell phone search warrant
- Facebook search warrant
- Email search warrant
- Apple search warrant
- Yahoo search warrant
- AT&T search warrant