SAN DIEGO – A father issued a plea Tuesday to his teenaged daughter and a man suspected of killing a longtime friend, kidnapping at least one of her kids and setting fire to his home.
A widespread search continued Tuesday for 40-year-old James Lee DiMaggio, who allegedly killed 41-year-old Christina Anderson, whose remains were discovered in the charred rubble of his house in the 2000 block of Ross Avenue in Boulevard shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday. Investigators soon determined the mother of two had been slain, sheriff’s homicide Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said.
The remains of an unidentified young child were found in the embers of the charred home, the lieutenant said.
Since the fire, the whereabouts of the victim’s children, Ethan, 8, and 16-year-old Hannah, have been unknown.
Brett Anderson, the father of the kids, stood before reporters at San Diego Sheriff’s Department headquarters Tuesday asking DiMaggio to stop running and let his absent daughter return home.
“Jim, I can’t fathom what you were thinking,” Anderson said. “The damage is done. I’m begging you to let my daughter go. You’ve taken everything else.”
He then addressed his missing daughter.
“Hannah, we all love you very much,” Anderson said. “If you have a chance, you take it. You run. You’ll be found.”
The deceased young child found in the embers of DiMaggio’s gutted rural home remained unidentified, Giannantonio told news crews following the father’s comments.
“It is a possibility that it’s Ethan,” he said. “It’s a possibility that it’s another child (whom) we haven’t identified yet or don’t realize is missing yet.”
In addition to killing the Lakeside woman and child, DiMaggio is believed to have torched his house and detached garage, Giannantonio said. The charred body of a dog also was found in the ashes.
The apparent homicide victims’ causes of death were under investigation.
A statewide child-abduction alert in the case was issued Monday evening. Authorities believe DiMaggio may be driving a blue 2013 Nissan Versa sedan, California license plate 6WCU986, and possibly fleeing to either Texas or Canada.
“Realistically, we don’t know where they’re going,” Giannantonio said. “We’re keeping a wide net, and hopefully we’ll find them. We’re looking everywhere. … We’re going to work on this case until we find them.”
The lieutenant said investigators been receiving calls from the public about the case “all day.”
“We’ve been following up on every one of those tips,” he said. “There’s still a backlog that we’re trying to catch up on. Right now, we don’t have any confirmed sightings of them, but there are several tips that we’re following up on and (that) do look promising.”
In addition to having been good friends with Brett and Christina Anderson for years, DiMaggio was close to their children, according to Giannantonio.
“From what I’ve heard, (Ethan and Hannah) considered him an uncle,” the lieutenant told reporters.
The suspect is 5 feet 9 inches tall and about 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Hannah is 5-foot-7 and 115 pounds, with blond hair, blue eyes, a navel ring, nose stud and pierced ears. Ethan was described as 4-foot- 11 and 65 pounds, with sandy blond hair.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspect or the missing children was asked to call sheriff’s communications at 858-565-5200 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.