Hannah Anderson was freed from kidnapper James Lee DiMaggio after a multi-state manhunt in August, but an autopsy shows that the 16-year-old’s mother and brother suffered a grisly fate at the hands of the accused killer.
In late August, the 42-year-old Christina Anderson and her 8-year-old son Ethan were found dead in her burned home. Their bodies were burned beyond recognition, but investigators could see blunt force trauma to Christina’s head.
This week the San Diego Medical Examiner’s officer released details connected to the Hannah Anderson kidnapping case, showing that DiMaggio bound and tortured his victims before killing them.
The autopsy showed that DiMaggio struck Anderson at least 12 times in the head. Her ankles were bound with a plastic cable tie and there was duct tape around her neck and mouth.
The autopsy also revealed that Anderson underwent a torturous ordeal before her death. Her right arm and both legs were fractured and there was a cut on her neck. Her body was found in the home’s garage, next to the family dog that was shot and killed.
Ethan was found in another part of the home, with the autopsy suggesting that the fire caused his death. Medical investigators also found skeletal fractures they believe were caused that day.
Hannah was rescued after police found DiMaggio at a campsite in Utah. He was shot and killed, and Anderson recovered safely.
“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 News. “My mom raised me to be strong.”
The case has generated controversy and questions about the relationship between DiMaggio and Anderson. Lora DiMaggio, James’ sister, has expressed doubts of the media’s portrayal of her brother as a murderous predator and Hannah Anderson an innocent victim.
“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.
Deputies found evidence in the home of James DiMaggio that could point to the nature of their relationship, including a DNA kit, letters from Hannah Anderson, and two used condoms. The contents of the letter have not been disclosed.