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Amber Alert tips pour in as cops hunt kidnapped girl, suspect

August 07, 2013|By Hailey Branson-Potts

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has received "lots and lots of tips from across the country" after an Amber Alert was issued throughout California for a kidnapped 16-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother.

"We are following up on each and every one of them that seems to have merit," San Diego County Sheriff's Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said. 

Authorities believe James Lee DiMaggio may be driving a blue Nissan Versa, California license plate 6WCU986, and may be en route to Canada or Texas with Hannah Anderson, 16.

The body of Hannah's mother, 44-year-old Christine Anderson, along with the unidentified body of a child, were found Sunday evening in DiMaggio's burning home in the rural community of Boulevard in eastern San Diego County.

An autopsy on the child's remains was performed Tuesday, but the autopsy results are sealed, officials said. It will be Friday at the earliest before the identity of the child is announced, Giannantonio said.

The body is believed to be 8-year-old Ethan Anderson, his family members have said in interviews with several news outlets.

Because the body was badly burned, it has been difficult to obtain a DNA sample, Giannantonio said.

The FBI has been working with the Sheriff's Department's investigation since Monday, Giannantonio said. Boulevard is just north of the Mexican border, and the FBI is working with Mexican authorities to search for DiMaggio.

"Being this close to the border, it's always a possibility," Giannantonio said of wanted people entering Mexico. "It's kind of an easy way for them to disappear."

Giannantonio said his department was still processing evidence from the burned home.

The case was the subject of California's first cellphone Amber Alert on Monday.

DiMaggio, who works as a telecommunications technician at Scripps Institute in San Diego, has been described by authorities as a close family friend whom the Anderson children called "Uncle Jim."

At a news conference Tuesday, the children's father, Brett Anderson, adressed Dimaggio directly: "Jim, I can't fathom what you were thinking.... Let my daughter go, you've taken everything else." 

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Twitter: @haileybranson

haileybranson@latimes.com

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