Lora DiMaggio, sister of the late alleged murderer and kidnapper James DiMaggio, told CNN in an exclusive interview published Wednesday she is skeptical about her brother’s guilt and suspicious of Hannah Anderson.
She said she had told her brother that the 16-year-old Anderson, whom he kidnapped and whose family he allegedly murdered on August 4, was “trouble” and he should “watch out.” James DiMaggio was a close family friend to the Andersons, and the Anderson children called him “uncle.”
Anderson, who was rescued in the Idaho wilderness on August 10, spoke on NBC’s “Today” show last week. DiMaggio said the Anderson she saw on the show was not the same girl she knew. She described Anderson as she saw her weeks before the incident when the girl visited her home: “She didn’t say ‘thank you’ once, she had on extremely heavy eye make-up.”
DiMaggio hesitated to continue her description, saying, “I don’t want to bash anyone.” She had told her brother after this visit that the teen was “trouble.”
DiMaggio told CNN she couldn’t believe her brother would commit such crimes: “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. 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.”
When asked if she thought Anderson was lying, DiMaggio said, “Do you believe everything a 16-year-old tells you?”
DiMaggio explained that Anderson had trouble at home. She blamed her mother for her father moving to Tennessee.
In her NBC interview, Anderson had said she and DiMaggio exchanged letters about a year ago when she was having problems with her mother.
“Me and him would talk about how to deal with it, and I’d tell him how I felt about it,” she said. “He helped me through it. They weren’t anything bad. They’re just to help me through tough times.”
She addressed other criticisms and suspicions directed at her in her interview as well. She said text messages exchanged between her and DiMaggio on the day of her family’s murder were about him picking her up at cheerleading camp.
Some people criticized Anderson’s use of social media in the days following her rescue.
“I didn’t know people could be so cruel,” she said. She said she was able to connect with friends through social media and ”It just helps me grieve.”