James DiMaggio Manhunt: Suspected Calif. abductor had crush on girl, friend says

Hanna and Ethan Anderson, reported missing after a fire erupted at their home. Police believe they have been abducted by a man suspected of killing their mother and setting the house on fire.
CBS Los Angeles
James Lee DiMaggio
AP Photo/San Diego Sheriff's Department

(CBS/AP) LAKESIDE, Calif. - A friend of a missing Southern California girl says the suspected abductor, James Lee DiMaggio, told the girl he had a crush on her.

Marissa Chavez said Wednesday she saw the 40-year-old DiMaggio tell the teen he didn't want the girls to think he was weird, but if the 16-year-old were his age he'd want to date her.

Chavez says the comment unnerved Hannah Anderson a couple of months ago when DiMaggio was driving the girls home from a gymnastics meet.

DiMaggio was like an uncle to Hannah and close with her parents, Christina and Brett Anderson.

The girl's grandfather says his daughter, Christina Anderson, visited DiMaggio to say goodbye because he was planning to move to Texas. The bodies of Christina Anderson, 42, a dog and an unidentified child were found in DiMaggio's burned home east of San Diego on Sunday.

"It is a possibility that it's Ethan," Sheriff's Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said of the child's remains. "Right now we just don't know. And we're praying that it isn't Ethan."

An autopsy was performed Tuesday, but authorities said it could still take a few days for DNA testing to determine the child's identity.

On Tuesday night, Brett Anderson, Christina's husband and the father of Ethan and Hannah, pleaded with his friend to turn himself in to authorities.

"Jim, I can't fathom what you were thinking," said Brett Anderson at a news conference addressing his friend DiMaggio, the subject of a growing manhunt. "The damage is done."

Anderson also pleaded with his missing daughter Hannah, who authorities said was in grave danger, to run away from DiMaggio if she got the chance.

Anderson did not make reference to his 8-year-old son Ethan, who was also missing.

Complete coverage of Hannah and Ethan Anderson on Crimesider