The kidnapping of a San Diego teenager taken by a longtime family friend also accused of murdering the girl’s mother and little brother is the subject of a new made-for-TV movie.
“Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story” airs May 23 on Lifetime. The film recounts the true, dramatic story of Hannah Anderson, the 16-year-old Lakeside, Calif., resident kidnapped by family friend James DiMaggio, 40, two years ago.
Anderson’s abduction on Aug. 4, 2013, sparked an Amber Alert that spanned across six states as DiMaggio fled with the teenager to the rugged Idaho backcountry.
On Aug. 7, 2013, a group of horseback riders spotted DiMaggio and Anderson near Cascade and Morehead Lake. The horseback riders said their interaction with Anderson and DiMaggio was a bit odd and left them with a strange feeling.
The group wasn’t aware of the Amber Alert when they crossed paths with the pair, but learned about it immediately after their ride in the backcountry that fateful day. The riders immediately reported their sighting to authorities, leading more than 200 federal, state and local law enforcement officials to the rural community in Idaho in search of the abducted teen and DiMaggio.
DiMaggio and Anderson were ultimately found by FBI agents at a campsite in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness on Aug. 10, 2013. DiMaggio was shot and killed by agents. Anderson was rescued, unharmed.
According to prosecutors, DiMaggio killed Anderson's mother and younger brother, Christina and Ethan Anderson, and set fire to his own home in Boulevard, Calif., before fleeing to Idaho with the teen.
The charred bodies of Christina and Ethan Anderson were discovered by sheriff’s deputies and fire officials on Aug. 4, 2013, at DiMaggio's burned-out property in the community of Boulevard, near San Diego.
According to search warrants, investigators believe DiMaggio “tortured and killed” Christina and Ethan on Aug. 4 before kidnapping Hannah Anderson.
In September 2013, reports released by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office revealed chilling new details about the murders, saying Christina was bludgeoned to death, bound and gagged, while Ethan's remains were so badly charred, they were practically beyond recognition.
After the kidnapping Anderson returned home to San Diego. She took to social media, answering questions about the ordeal.
In October 2013, she appeared on “The Today Show,” sharing details about her abduction, including how she was drugged and restrained by her captor. She also said DiMaggio admitted to having a “crush” on her before the murders and kidnapping.
The teenager has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since then. In March 2014 Anderson’s grandmother said the teen was still in therapy, and would likely continue to receive treatment for a while.
In May 2014, federal and state prosecutors said FBI agents acted reasonably when they shot and killed kidnapping and murder suspect DiMaggio in the Idaho wilderness and the agents who killed him would not face charges.
The Lifetime movie airing this month casts all of the central players in the abduction story.
Actress Jessica Amlee, best known for her role in “Heartland,” plays Hannah Anderson. Former “Gilmore Girls” actor Scott Patterson plays James DiMaggio and “Army Wives” actor Brian McNamara plays the role of Hannah’s father, Brett Anderson. “Port Charles” and “General Hospital” alum Jay Pickett plays Agent Frank McKinnon.