Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kidnapping victim 'happy to be here'

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LAKESIDE, Calif. -- A 16-year-old California girl got a warm welcome-home reception five days after FBI agents killed a longtime family friend suspected of torturing and killing her mother and brother and escaping with her to the Idaho wilderness.

Hannah Anderson was mobbed by reporters as she entered and left a restaurant that hosted an all-day fundraiser. News crews were told to wait outside while Hannah and her father stayed for hours. She did not make a statement.

"I don't know what I want to say. I just want to give her a hug," said Alyssa Haugum, a classmate of Hannah's in Lakeside, a San Diego suburb.

Brett Anderson said his daughter was taking things one day at a time. He said he spoke with the horseback riders who saw the pair in the Idaho wilderness and alerted authorities, thanking them for saving Hannah's life. "Right now, she's with her family and, of course, with some friends, and she's just happy to be here," he told reporters.

Firefighters found the body of Christina Anderson, 44, near a crowbar and what appeared to be blood next to her head. Investigators found eight-year-old Ethan's body as they sifted through rubble.

James Lee DiMaggio is believed to have shot and killed their family dog.

DiMaggio "tortured and killed" the mother and son, San Diego County Sheriff's Det. Darren Perata wrote, offering no elaboration, in the warrants released Wednesday.

Investigators who searched DiMaggio's home found letters from Hannah, an incendiary device, handcuff boxes, a handwritten note, a Yosemite camping guide, two used condoms and "arson wire," according to one warrant, which does not elaborate on the content of the letters or nature of the devices.

Jan Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, declined to comment on the content of Hannah's letters.

"As to the other items, I believe they rather stand on their own and clearly elevated the need to find her as soon as possible," she wrote in an email.

The warrants say DiMaggio and Hannah exchanged about 13 phone calls before she was picked up from cheerleading practice Aug. 4, hours before firefighters found DiMaggio's burning garage in Boulevard, a town 104 kilometres east of San Diego. They do not indicate the time, duration or nature of the calls. Caldwell has said they may have been discussing pickup times.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore has been adamant that Hannah was an unwilling victim from start to finish. "I can't make it any clearer," he said Monday.

DiMaggio was extraordinarily close to both children, driving Hannah to gymnastics meets and Ethan to football practice. The warrants say the former telecommunications technician took Hannah on multi-day trips, most recently to Malibu and Hollywood.

Asked on her ask.fm social media account this week if she would have preferred DiMaggio got a lifetime prison sentence instead of being killed, she said, "He deserved what he got."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 17, 2013 A26

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