Is kidnapper teen girl's real father? Family wants DNA test

Is kidnapper teen girl's real father? Family wants DNA test
In this Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013 file photo, Hannah Anderson arrives at a restaurant for a fundraiser in her honor to raise money for her family, in Lakeside, Calif. (AP Photo/U-T San Diego, Howard Lipin)
SAN DIEGO - In a bizarre twist to an already tragic case, the family of a man suspected of kidnapping a 16-year-old girl and killing her mother and younger brother has asked for paternity tests to determine if the suspect fathered the children.

The suggestion that was quickly refuted by the victims' family.

Andrew Spanswick, a spokesman for the family of James Lee DiMaggio, told KGTV in San Diego that there are rumors that James Lee DiMaggio fathered both children and that it was odd that the suspect named the girl's paternal grandmother as his life insurance beneficiary.

Spanswick is quoted saying the family wanted DNA samples of Hannah Anderson and, if possible, her brother to determine paternity.

"We think it's strange he left them so much money with no explanation," Spanswick told the ABC affiliate

Spanswick didn't immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press. However, he said through his publicist, Cathy Griffin, that he made the statements and didn't have anything to add.

Anderson family spokeswoman Stacy Hess said DiMaggio didn't meet the children's mother, Christina Anderson, until she was six months pregnant with Hannah. Investigators used Brett Anderson's DNA to confirm the identity of 8-year-old Ethan Anderson, whose remains were found in the rubble of DiMaggio's burned home, Hess said.

Brett Anderson, the father of Hannah and Ethan, finds the suggestion that DiMaggio fathered the two children "disgusting," Hess said. She said the family had not yet received a DNA request directly from DiMaggio's family and declined further comment.

Spanswick said Monday that DiMaggio named Hannah's grandmother, Bernice Anderson, as the sole beneficiary of his employer-issued life insurance policy, making her eligible to receive $112,000. He said he believed the money was intended for Hannah.

Lora Robinson, DiMaggio's sister and lone survivor of his immediate family, called Brett Anderson Friday night to tell him about the payment. They had a long conversation but neither had an explanation for what had happened, Spanswick said.

DiMaggio, 40, was like an uncle to the Anderson children and Brett Anderson's best friend. Investigators say DiMaggio escaped with Hannah and killed 44-year-old Christina Anderson and her son, whose bodies were discovered after DiMaggio set fire to his home Aug. 4 in Boulevard, a tiny town 65 miles east of San Diego.

Caldwell declined to say if Brett Anderson's DNA was used to identify his son's remains. Authorities have said they extracted DNA from the boy's bone marrow.

Meanwhile, authorities have discovered that DiMaggio got a 20-hour jump on authorities after the kidnapping and murders by using a timer to set fire to his rural home where the girl's mother and younger brother were found dead, a San Diego County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman said Tuesday.

James Lee DiMaggio was spotted on a Border Patrol surveillance camera at 12:10 a.m. Aug. 4, about 20 hours before his home caught fire, said the spokeswoman, Jan Caldwell. He is seen inside his 2013 blue Nissan Versa with 16-year-old Hannah Anderson at a westbound highway checkpoint.

Hannah's disappearance - discovered after the fire - triggered a massive search for DiMaggio, 40, that spanned much of the western United States and parts of Canada and Mexico. DiMaggio died in a shootout with FBI agents in the Idaho wilderness six days after the fire. Hannah was rescued and returned to Southern California.

The discovery that the fire was set by a timer prompted investigators to warn the public during the manhunt that DiMaggio's car might be rigged with explosives, Caldwell said. As it turns out, the car wasn't rigged.

Investigators who searched DiMaggio's home found an incendiary device, handcuff boxes and "arson wire," according to a search warrant. It also says they discovered letters from Hannah and a handwritten note, without elaborating on the contents.

Search warrants unsealed last week said Hannah was picked up from a cheerleading practice at 4 p.m. on Aug. 4, but Caldwell said the practice was a day earlier.

Firefighters found the body of Christina Anderson, 44, when they extinguished flames at DiMaggio's home in Boulevard, a tiny town about 65 miles east of San Diego on the U.S.-Mexico border. A search warrant says she was found near a crowbar and what appeared to be blood next to her head.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said she died of a blunt head injury, without elaborating on the nature of the wound or the circumstances of her death in a posting to its website. The manner of death is listed as homicide.

Investigators found 8-year-old Ethan Anderson's body as they sifted through rubble. Authorities identified his remains several days later by extracting DNA from his bone marrow.

The medical examiner's office said Tuesday that the cause and manner of the boy's death remained under investigation.

Hannah Anderson says she didn't learn her mother and brother died until after she was rescued. She said on a social media site last week that she was "on the road to Idaho" when the fire ignited.

"He had set to wear (sic) it would catch on fire at a certain time," she wrote.

A memorial service is scheduled Saturday for the mother and son in Santee, an east San Diego suburb.