James DiMaggio's Sister: Need More Evidence in Deaths, Hannah 'Trouble'

Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013 11:42 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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James DiMaggio's sister isn’t convinced that her brother murdered two people and abducted 16-year-old Hannah Anderson earlier this month, instead casting doubt on the teen whom she described as "trouble."

Lora DiMaggio appeared on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live" Tuesday to give her side of the Hannah Anderson saga.

"It's very hard to believe that someone who was just so genuine and so dependable every single solitary day just woke up one day and decided to do this," she said of her brother, whom she called her "best friend."

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James DiMaggio, 40, a close family friend of the Andersons, reportedly tortured and killed Hannah Anderson's mother, Christina, and her 8-year-old brother Ethan at his San Diego home before setting it on fire and fleeing with the girl Aug. 4.

After a multi-state search that stretched to almost a week, authorities tipped off by a retired sheriff and three others on horseback found DiMaggio and Anderson deep in Idaho's backcountry. DiMaggio was killed in a shootout with police, and Anderson was brought home to San Diego.

The teen gave her first on-camera interview to NBC last week, where she said she wants to be known as a "survivor," not a "victim."

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

But Lora DiMaggio isn’t buying it. She says she warned her brother about Anderson just three weeks before his death.

"I know that the Hannah Anderson that I saw a few nights ago on the TV is certainly not the girl that stayed in my home three weeks prior to them disappearing," she said. "She didn’t say thank you once, she had on extremely heavy eye makeup. Just wasn't ... didn’t strike me as ... I don’t know. I don’t want to bash anyone.

"I remember very vividly telling my brother, 'She's trouble.' I said, 'You need to watch out for that one.'"

Since Anderson's return home, the case has gotten even more convoluted after new details emerged about the relationship between James DiMaggio and the teenager. Some reports claimed Anderson told friends DiMaggio said he had a crush on her, and records show the two exchanged 13 calls or text messages the day of the abduction.

Police search warrants revealed handwritten letters from Anderson at DiMaggio's home, and he mysteriously left the girl's paternal grandmother more than $112,000 from a life insurance policy. Lora DiMaggio has called for a paternity test to determine if her brother was one or both of the children's biological father.

Still, she refuses to make any judgments about her brother until she sees more evidence.

"The only evidence that has come forward at this point is the fact the two bodies were found on his property. There's a lot of missing information. I have yet to see any solid evidence," DiMaggio told "Today." "In my heart of hearts, I think that Hannah perhaps got herself into a situation that she couldn't get herself out of, and I do believe that my brother gave his life to protect her."

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Related stories:

Hannah Anderson Account on Ask.fm Answers Questions

James DiMaggio Called Hannah Anderson 13 Times Before Abduction: Report  

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