Nightly News   |  August 08, 2013

Amber alerts in four states for missing kids, murder suspect

The search for 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and her 8-year-old brother Ethan continues. Authorities are concerned they were abducted by a family friend, James DiMaggio, who is suspected of murdering their mother. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

Share This:

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

>>> what what began in california with the killing of a woman four days ago has expanded to a manhunt in four states tonight for a murder suspect who is on the run and believed to be holding a 16-year-old girl. millions have been asked to help if they can, receiving amber alerts on their cell phones . we get our report tonight from nbc's joe friar.

>> reporter: at an emotional vigil just outside of san diego --

>> i love her dearly.

>> reporter: friends and relatives hannah anderson pray for the missing teen's safe return.

>> she's a strong girl. i know she's going to come back.

>> reporter: the search for 16-year-old han aher 18-year-old brother ethan and suspect dimaggio continue to grow. the suspect may be armed with explosives. they are asking the public not to approach his blue nissan versa if they see it. amber alerts are active in california , oregon, washington and nevada. the children have been missing since their mother's body was found sunday inside dimaggio's home, which was devoured by flames. a second body, possibly ethan's, was also found in the remains.

>> the gentleman that was a friend of ours for a long time has taken everything.

>> reporter: the kids' father, bret anderson , spoke directly to his daughter.

>> if you have a chance, you take it. you run. you'll be found.

>> reporter: like most amber alerts, this one appeared on freeway signs across california . but for the first time in this state, the message appeared another way, by phone. it's part of the new wireless emergencies alert system which sends messages to cell phones where the alert originates.

>> when a child is missing, we need to engage the public as the eyes and ears of law enforcement . we need to do it rapidly.

>> reporter: but the loud alarm startled many prompting some to turn off the ambert alert feature on their phones.

>> we really ask them to reconsider because their participation is key to saving lives.

>> reporter: 656 kids have been saved through amber alerts since they started in 1996 . friends and relatives hope hannah's alert will lead to another happy ending. joe friar, nbc news, san diego .