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First Hannah Anderson interview to air on 'Today' show Thursday

August 21, 2013|By Kate Mather

In her first interview since she was rescued from a 6-day kidnapping ordeal, San Diego County 16-year-old Hannah Anderson told NBC News that she is a survivor.

The full interview is scheduled to air Thursday morning on the "Today" show.

"In the beginning I was a victim, but now knowing everyone out there is helping me I consider myself a survivor instead," she told NBC News. "My mom raised me to be strong."

The Lakeside teen also thanked people for their support and credited Amber Alert with her rescue.

It was unclear whether Hannah planned to address any of the other questions that have circled since her rescue.

Her family tried to quash at least one rumor on Wednesday, responding to suggestions that kidnapper James DiMaggio may have been her biological father.

"Brett and Tina Anderson met Mr. DiMaggio when Tina was in her sixth month of pregnancy with Hannah," according to a family statement emailed to The Times. "Brett Anderson's DNA was used to identify the body of his dead son Ethan Anderson."

The comments came after reports surfaced that DiMaggio's sister was seeking a paternity test to determine if her brother was the biological father of 16-year-old Hannah or 8-year-old Ethan, whose body -- along with his mother's -- was found in DiMaggio's charred home earlier this month.

Andrew Spanswick, a spokesman for the DiMaggio family, said Lora Robinson had asked the coroner for DNA samples as part of her effort to "get to the bottom of what's going on."

"There were rumors that were circulating and she got wrapped up in the rumors," Spanswick said. "She doesn't know one way or the other. It's a question that's out there."

Spanswick said Robinson was "not trying to cause any more pain for the Anderson family" but that she's trying to determine what the motive behind her brother's actions might have been. She has also asked authorities to examine some of the evidence, he said, including DiMaggio's gun, a photo of DiMaggio and Hannah taken at a Border Patrol checkpoint, and letters from the teenager found at his home.

"We'd just like some more information," Spanswick said. "It just doesn't add up."

The development was the latest in a series of new details trickling out of the case, which began Aug. 4 when the bodies of Hannah's mother and brother were found at DiMaggio's burning property in eastern San Diego County. The search -- which triggered Amber Alerts across much of the West -- ended six days later, when FBI agents found Hannah and DiMaggio at a campsite in a stretch of rural Idaho backcountry.

Hannah was rescued safely. DiMaggio, who authorities said fired at least once at the agents before he was killed, was shot at least five times in the head and body, an Idaho coroner said.


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