On Thursday morning, kidnapping victim Hannah Anderson discussed her relationship with her kidnapper in an exclusive interview on NBC’s Today, USA Today explains.
The sixteen-year-old California teenager was abducted by a family friend who was suspected of killing her mother and brother. In her interview, Anderson discussed her relationship with her kidnapper, 40-year-old James DiMaggio. During the show, the teenager explained her relationship with DiMaggio prior to the kidnapping, including exchanging letters and text messages with him just before her abduction.
“Me and him would talk about how to deal with it,” she said when discussing her personal issues with her mother. “And I’d tell him how I felt about it. And he helped me through it. They weren’t anything bad. They’re just to help me through tough times.”
FBI agents killed DiMaggio August 10 at a remote wilderness campsite in Idaho, where he had taken Anderson during the six-day, multistate kidnapping.
Investigators believe that DiMaggio, known by the family as “Uncle Jim”, killed 44-year-old Christina Anderson and her son Ethan before kidnapping Hannah. Both bodies were discovered after DiMaggio set fire to his home in Boulevard, a tiny town 65 miles east of San Diego.
Hannah’s only form of communication about the kidnapping had been via an online posting site until her interview with Today, when she told the audience that she had exchanged text messages with DiMaggio prior to her abduction to arrange for him to pick her up at a cheerleading camp.
“And he didn’t know the address or what — like, where I was. So I had to tell him the address and tell him that I was gonna be in the gym and not in front of the school,” she said. “Just so he knew where to come get me.”
Hannah did not go into much detail about the kidnapping itself, which ended after four campers spotted the two in the Idaho backcountry and alerted police.
Other details behind the relationship DiMaggio had with the Anderson family include his switching the beneficiary of his over $100,000 life insurance policy from his sister to Hannah’s grandmother in 2011. DiMaggio’s family also wanted DNA tests of the Anderson children, but Hannah’s father Brett Anderson issued a statement denying the possibility of the children being DiMaggio’s.