Nationwide Search Launched for Murder, Kidnapping Suspect

An Amber Alert was issued for missing children Hannah and Ethan Anderson believed to be traveling with James Lee DiMaggio

By Chris Chan, R. Stickney and Elena Gomez
|  Tuesday, Aug 6, 2013  |  Updated 11:57 PM EDT
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Arson investigators will bring in a backhoe to sift through the debris left behind by the two-story log cabin and three-car detached garage.

Arson investigators will bring in a backhoe to sift through the debris left behind by the two-story log cabin and three-car detached garage.

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A San Diego man is the subject of a nationwide manhunt, the suspect in a double murder and possible double kidnapping.

Deputies were called to 2071 Ross Ave. in the unincorporated community of Boulevard around 8 p.m. Sunday to find the home and detached 3-car garage engulfed in flames.

Two people and a dog were found dead inside James Lee DiMaggio’s log-cabin style home Monday night. Officials said 41-year-old Christina Anderson was found, in addition to another body.

San Diego County homicide Lt. Glenn Giannantonio originally said the body was that of a child's, but has since said the body is badly burned and DNA testing will reveal who it is.

Deputies believe DiMaggio murdered Anderson and then set the structures on fire. Officials have put out a nationwide Amber Alert for DiMaggio and Anderson’s 8-year-old son Ethan and 16-year-old daughter Hannah.

The father of both children, Brett Anderson, spoke to the media on Tuesday, and said DiMaggio has "taken everything" from him.

Brett then had a message to his daughter: "Hannah, we all love you very much. If you have a chance take it, run, you will be found."

Ethan is 4-feet, 11-inches tall, weighing 65 pounds with sandy blonde hair. Hannah is 5-feet, 7-inches tall, 115 pounds with blue eyes, a nose stud, pierced ears and a belly button ring. She attends El Capitan High School.

DiMaggio is 40 years old, 5-foot 9- inches tall, 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. His beard and mustache have recently been shaved off officials said.

They are believed to be traveling in a 4-door, blue Nissan Versa with license plate 6WCU986.

“It’s believed that one or both of the children have been abducted by DiMaggio whose whereabouts are also unknown,” said Giannantonio.

Neighbors were in disbelief Monday. They say DiMaggio is a kind, giving and laid back person who the Anderson children considered an uncle.

They believe DiMaggio had planned to take Ethan camping or hunting and authorities may not be able to reach him because he's out of cell phone range.

Anderson was an old friend of DiMaggio who would come to visit him once or twice a month, according to neighbors. Giannantonio said Christina Anderson and DiMaggio were not romantically involved but have a close friendship.

They say the Anderson children got along well with other children in the neighborhood but they recently came more often.

Hannah's friend from school Hannah Darby told NBC 7 that she'd met DiMaggio a couple times, and said he was like a second dad to Hannah. Darby also said DiMaggio has taken Hannah on a trip alone before.

In the last two months things became a little weird between Hannah and Jim DiMaggio, said Hannah's close friend Marissa Chavez at El Capitan High School Marissa Chavez. She was in the car  with the two when DiMaggio said something the girls thought was awkward. 

"He said, 'If you were my age I would want to date you.'" said Chavez. "After that she didn't want to be alone with him."

DiMaggio currently works at the Scripps Research Institute. Court records show that he filed for divorce in 2003.

“We believe that if they are with DiMaggio that they are in danger,” Giannantonio said adding that FBI agents have been asked to help in the investigation.

Anyone who spots the children or DiMaggio should call 911.

Giannantonio could not disclose how Anderson was killed. He said the medical examiner will try and identify the burned remains of the child found in the rubble.

Anderson lived with her two children in Lakeside according to officials. The children were last seen on Aug. 3 officials said. The grandparents reported the children missing.

Officials also found remains of weapons found that were burned in the fire but would not reveal the number or type of weapons found.

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