Dateline   |  August 23, 2013

The Rescue of Hannah Anderson, Part 2

Investigators search for answers about the close relationship between the Anderson family and long-time friend Jim DiMaggio.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> hannah anderson , 16 years old, had vanished. abducted the authorities believed, by a long time trusted family friend, jim dimaggio . by the wee hours of tuesday morning, more than two days since the girl had last been seen, cell phones up and down the pacific coast had begun wailing like a smoke alarm. it was an amber alert for the girl, the kidnapper and his vehicle.

>> dimaggio , we believe killed two people, he burned his house down, killed a dog. she's definitely in grave danger. he's a very dangerous man.

>> the authorities needed the public's help. the story was now playing beyond san diego . the mother and brother's bodies found in the deliberately torched cabin home of the friend, jim dimaggio , who was apparently fleeing who knew where with young hannah anderson in his clutches.

>> we all love her and miss her.

>> friends and family began holding candlelight vigils.

>> she's one of the greatest friends i ever had. i love her to death. if you get a chance, you're alone, run. please, please just run. as fast as you can.

>> in san diego , a state, local and federal investigative task force had come together and high on its priorities was collecting more info about dimaggio 's relationship with the andersons. a family snapshot seemed to say it all. there was the anderson clan on a happy occasion. hannah , her mom, her kid brother ethan and over on the rye, the man the children called uncle jim . jim dimaggio . everyone in hannah 's school crowd knew him.

>> he's like the surrogate uncle or almost like the father figure to hannah because he's just always been there and always been such a cool guy to her.

>> at the time of hannah 's abduction, her father and mother had been separated for several months. the dad, brett anderson was living and working back in tennessee. jim dimaggio , the investigators were being told had been helping out his friend brett with the family in his absence. but hannah 's good friend and confidant, allen mcnabb had a different perspective on good 'ol jim dimaggio . he recalls hannah telling him about an incident with uncle jim that made her skin crawl.

>> he was telling her how pretty and beautiful she was and that he had a crush on her. but he would only date her if she was his age. she was really weirded out by it. i mean, even i told her that that was really weird and she shouldn't talk to him anymore.

>> dimaggio had taken teenage hannah on several day trips, most recently to malibu and hollywood. but if dimaggio had become infatuated with the daughter of his friend of 15 years, hannah 's father definitely did not see it.

>> there are things that you think back of now and say, maybe that wasn't totally appropriate. but still it's never something directly in front of me like there was no patting or anything like that. so i really can't say that there was ever any one definite thing that you would bring me pause.

>> but for the investigators at the moment, what had made jim dimaggio snap wasn't his urgent a question as finding out where he was. was hannah even still alive? they quickly pieced together a timeline of the anderson family 's last day. hannah 's friend allen for one knew what the plans had been for that weekend. uncle jim had invited hannah , her mom tina and brother ethan up to his remote cabin home in boulevard.

>> jim found out he was going to lose his house into foreclosure and tina, ethan and hannah always went up there for vacation. he has a very big property. they always went up there to see him. and they -- he said that he wanted them to go up there for one last time before he loses his house.

>> that was saturday, august 3rd . that afternoon, hannah 's brother was playing with his pop warner football team, then his mother picked him up. hannah was at the school too, coaching the team's young cheerleaders. according to investigators, hannah and dimaggio communicated on their cell phones about a dozen times that day before he picked her up around 4:00.

>> then all communications stopped. cell phones apparently were turned off.

>> that's ominous in itself. how many 16-year-old girls turn off their cell phones .

>> that's very unusual.

>> there was no clue about hannah 's whereabouts until after the weekend when a surveillance photo was taken at midnight saturday from a highway checkpoint not far from dimaggio 's home in the sticks. the two were seen in his car.

>> when you blow up that frame what do you see?

>> him and her kind of reclining back in the seat. but awake. and at that time they were heading west on interstate 8. that was the last sighting we had.

>> did that tell you anything about the possible route they were taking?

>> it would lead you to believe they were coming west and then would turn and go up to head north. hence, the amber alert that goes to california, oregon and washington.

>> if hannah was last seen being picked up at the playing field by dimaggio . if she was picked up not far from his cabin, what happened in the intervening hours? when were her mother and brother killed? to further muddy the timeline, before he took off with the girl, dimaggio rigged his cabin with timing devices of some kind to delay the start of the fire by several hours. so when the cabin exploded in flames about 8:00 sunday evening, the first sign that anything was amiss with the anderson family , he and the teenager were long gone.

>> so he had a big headstart on us and the trail was pretty cold.

>> hannah 's father made a painful personal appeal to a man he regarded as his trusted, long time friend.

>> jim , i can't fathom what you were thinking. the damage is done. i'm begging you to let my daughter go. you've taken everything else.

>> the task force could only look at its roadmaps of mexico, canada and the united states and wonder where to put their pin. fervently hoping for the break that would bring to an end a monstrous crime in progress.