SAN DIEGO (AP) – The 16-year-old California girl who was kidnapped by a family friend clarified some details Thursday about her relationship with her kidnapper, including that they exchanged texts beforehand, not phone calls as police have said, and that they wrote each other letters a year ago when she wasn’t getting along with her mother.
The girl, Hannah Anderson, was kidnapped by family friend James Lee DiMaggio on Aug. 4 after he killed her mother and Hannah’s 8-year-old brother at his rural house east of San Diego and fled with the teen, authorities have said.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore has declined to discuss a possible motive and investigators haven’t publicly addressed other aspects of the case, including why the family went to DiMaggio’s home, how Christina and Ethan Anderson died, the nature of letters from Hannah that were discovered in DiMaggio’s home and how Hannah was treated in captivity.
According to search warrants, Anderson exchanged about 13 phone calls with DiMaggio before she was picked up from cheerleading practice that day. But Anderson told NBC’s “Today” show in an interview that aired Thursday that communications were texts, not calls, and she was telling DiMaggio where to pick her up.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said it could not immediately explain the discrepancy.
Anderson also said that the letters found in DiMaggio’s home his home in Boulevard, a tiny town 65 miles east of San Diego, were written about a year ago when she was having trouble getting along with her mother and she sought advice from DiMaggio.
“They were just to help me through tough times,” she said in her first news interview since her rescue.
FBI agents rescued Anderson during a shootout in the Idaho wilderness that killed DiMaggio days after she was kidnapped. She said in the interview that she had no idea there was a massive search effort underway for her but thanked all those who looked and who have supported her. The interview gave no details about what happened after DiMaggio kidnapped her, including whether he told her that her mother and brother were killed or whether she tried to escape.
Authorities have also said he set fire to his home, where the bodies of her mother and brother were found. DiMaggio used a timer to set the fire, giving him a 20-hour jump on authorities, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Jan Caldwell said.
Anderson spoke lovingly as she remembered her mother and brother, saying they both were strong and that her mother knew how to handle herself.
Of her brother, she said, “He had a really big heart,” before she choked up and wiped away tears.
Gore has called Hannah “a victim in every sense of the word.”
Anderson spoke some about herself and her ordeal days ago on social media, and she was expected to discuss why she did so in another portion of the interview scheduled to air later Thursday morning.
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