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California girl explains texts with man who killed relatives

  • This Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 photo released by NBC shows Hannah Anderson during an interview for the "Today" show in San Diego, Calif., that aired on Thursday, Aug. 22. Anderson, whose mother and brother were killed by a family friend, James Lee DiMaggio, was abducted by DiMaggio and fled to the Idaho wilderness before he was killed by authorities. This was her first news interview since her dramatic rescue Aug. 10. (AP Photo/NBC, Jesse Grant)

SAN DIEGO — A California teen whose mother and brother were killed by a family friend said on national television Thursday that she once confided with the man about troubles with her mother and explained text messages exchanged on the day of the attack.

Police say James Lee DiMaggio abducted Hannah Anderson and fled to the Idaho wilderness before he was killed by authorities.

In an interview on the NBC "Today" show, Hannah didn't say how her family died, describe her interactions with DiMaggio during a massive manhunt, or offer details to explain why DiMaggio might have unleashed such violence.

In her first news interview since her dramatic rescue Aug. 10, Hannah said she wrote to DiMaggio about a year ago as he guided her through a rough patch with her mother.

"Me and him would talk about how to deal with it, and I'd tell him how I felt about it, and he'd help me through it. They weren't anything bad. They were just to help me through tough times," she said.

Hannah said she exchanged text messages on Aug. 3 with DiMaggio before she disappeared about where he should pick her up from cheerleading practice. Her statements corrected a search warrant that said the pair exchanged about 13 phone calls.

"The phone calls weren't phone calls," she said. "They were texts because he was picking me up from cheer camp and he didn't know the address or what, like, where I was, so I had to tell him."

Jan Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, declined to comment on the content of the letters and text messages.

Hannah's comments to NBC underscore the close relationship she had with DiMaggio, 40, who was like an uncle to her and her brother and her father's best friend.

Hannah's disappearance triggered a search for DiMaggio that spanned much of the western United States and parts of Canada and Mexico.

Christina Anderson, 44, was found dead near a crowbar and what appeared to be a pool of blood in the garage of DiMaggio's home in Boulevard, a tiny town about 65 miles east of San Diego. The remains of Ethan Anderson, 8, were discovered in the rubble.

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