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Suspect’s family wants DNA test on kidnapped teen

August 22, 2013

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The family of a U.S. 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 — a suggestion that the victims’ family quickly rejected.

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

“We think it’s strange he left them so much money with no explanation,” Spanswick said.

Lora Robinson, DiMaggio’s sister and lone survivor of his immediate family, collected DNA from her brother and wants samples from Hannah Anderson and her brother to determine paternity, Spanswick said. She has not yet asked for the samples but intends to at a later date.

“The biggest issue is, I think, that Lora wants closure on the case,” Spanswick said. “As Lora has heard these rumors, she would like to confirm whether they are true or not.”

Spanswick later 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.

Brett Anderson, the father of Hannah and 8-year-old 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 the family’s interest in paternity tests, which was first reported by KGTV in San Diego, has been “blown way out of proportion” by the media.

“It’s just for clarity,” he said.

DiMaggio, 40, was like an uncle to the Anderson children. Investigators say he 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 California.

DiMaggio was killed and Hannah was rescued Aug. 10 in a shootout with FBI agents in the Idaho wilderness.

Investigators used Brett Anderson’s DNA to confirm the identity of Ethan Anderson, whose remains were found in the rubble of DiMaggio’s burned home, Hess said.

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.

Hannah Anderson gave her first news interview since her rescue to the NBC “Today” show. It was scheduled to air Thursday.

“In the beginning I was a victim, but now knowing everyone out there is helping me I consider myself a survivor instead,” she told NBC. “My mom raised me to be strong.”

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