Manhunt continues in Boulevard murder, kidnapping case

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The search for a Boulevard man and a teenage girl he is suspected of kidnapping after allegedly murdering her mother continued Thursday following what turned out to be unsubstantiated sightings near the California- Oregon border.

Investigators were urgently chasing leads into the whereabouts of 40- year-old James Lee DiMaggio, who is believed to be on the run with 16-year-old Hannah Anderson of Lakeside and, possibly, her 8-year-old brother Ethan, according to sheriff's officials.

DiMaggio is suspected of killing the girl's 44-year-old mother, Christina Anderson, who was found dead in the man's back-country home on a rural property off Old Highway 80 in southeastern San Diego County last weekend along with the body of an unidentified child. Authorities were awaiting the results of tests to determine if the child's body is that of Ethan Anderson.

Authorities have received numerous tips about possible sightings of the suspect over the last several days, though none have proved conclusive, San Diego County sheriff's Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said.

Early Wednesday afternoon, investigators got word of possible sightings of DiMaggio's car heading north on Highway 395 in Alturas, near the Oregon border in the northeast corner of California, and across the state line in southern Oregon, but local authorities were unable to substantiate the sightings, according to San Diego County sheriff's officials.

Still, amber alerts were issued Wednesday in Oregon and Washington, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Firefighters discovered the bodies of Christina Anderson, a longtime friend of DiMaggio's, and the child in the rubble of the suspect's burned-out Ross Avenue home shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday. The remains of the juvenile victim likely will remain unidentified pending completion of DNA comparisons, a process that could take several days, Giannantonio said.

On Tuesday evening, the father of the missing children addressed the suspect, formerly a good friend of his, through the news media.

“Jim, I can't fathom what you were thinking,” Brett Anderson said in front of sheriff's headquarters in Kearny Mesa. “The damage is done. I'm begging you to let my daughter go. You've taken everything else.”

He also directed a few urgent comments to his daughter.

“Hannah, we all love you very much,” he said. “If you have a chance, you take it. You run. You'll be found.”

In addition to having been friends to Brett and Christina Anderson for years, DiMaggio was close to their children, according to Giannantonio.

“From what I've heard, (Ethan and Hannah) considered him an uncle,” the lieutenant told reporters.

A statewide amber alert was issued Monday evening in California. Authorities believe DiMaggio may be driving a blue 2013 Nissan Versa sedan, California license plate 6WCU986, and possibly may have headed to either Texas or Canada.

The suspect is 5 feet 9 and about 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Hannah is 5-foot-7 and 115 pounds, with blond hair, blue eyes, a navel ring, nose stud and pierced ears. Ethan was described as 4-foot- 11 and 65 pounds, with sandy blond hair.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspect or the missing children was asked to call the sheriff's department at (858) 565-5200.

Categories: KUSI