California authorities search for missing siblings after mother slain

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 06, 2013 2:08 PM

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - California authorities issued a statewide child-abduction alert on Tuesday for two children missing since their mother was found slain over the weekend at the burned-out home of a friend.

The remains of an unidentified child also were discovered at the house, and authorities were searching for its owner, James Lee DiMaggio, 40, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Officials suspect DiMaggio in the slaying of Christina Anderson, 44, with whom he apparently had a close, platonic relationship, and say he is believed to have kidnapped one or both of her children - Hannah, 16, and Ethan, 8.

Christina Anderson's body was discovered on Sunday night by firefighters sent to the DiMaggio's home, the sheriff's department said in a statement.

The house and a detached garage, located in the unincorporated desert community of Boulevard, east of San Diego near the Mexican border, were both found in flames.

Investigators determined that Anderson had been slain, although details were not released. The cause of death for the unidentified child found in the rubble was not determined.

An Amber Alert was issued for both Anderson children, but it was not immediately clear whether detectives believed one of them might have been the child found at the fire scene.

Authorities did not say whether they have any theories for a possible motive in the case.

(Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman; Additional reporting by Marty Graham; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Bill Trott)