SAN DIEGO (AP) — Kidnapping survivor Hannah Anderson will describe her ordeal on NBC’s “Today” show, including how her family’s friend-turned-captor handcuffed her and made her play a game of Russian roulette.
In an interview with Savannah Guthrie airing Thursday, the San Diego-area teen said James Lee DiMaggio used zip ties to bind her feet and then told her that he was going to take her to Idaho to help him settle there before releasing her.
“He told me that he was going to kidnap me and take me to Idaho, where my intention was just to carry his backpacks to the river. And that he was gonna live there. And then he’d get me home afterwards,” Anderson told Guthrie.
DiMaggio assured her at the time that her mother, Christina Anderson, and 8-year-old brother, Ethan, were alive and in their home. He then forced her to play Russian roulette on his couch, Anderson said.
“And when it was my turn, I started crying and, like, was freaking out. And he said, ‘Do you want to play?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And I started crying and then he’s, like, ‘OK.’ And he stopped,” she said.
DiMaggio, 40, was killed by FBI agents in the Idaho wilderness Aug. 10, one week after he allegedly abducted the 16-year-old and killed Christina and Ethan Anderson at his home in Boulevard, 65 miles east of San Diego. Hannah Anderson was rescued and returned safely to California.
Authorities have said DiMaggio set fire to his home with a timer, giving him a 20-hour head start.
The remains of her 44-year-old mother and brother were later found inside the burned home. Investigators said they couldn’t determine how Ethan died due to extensive burns and tissue loss. They said gunshot wounds, asphyxiation or burns from the house fire were all possibilities. The mother is believed to have been bludgeoned to death.
When Anderson thinks of her captor she feels “just mostly sick and angry” and said he got what he deserves.
Hannah’s disappearance triggered a massive search spanning much of the western United States and parts of Canada and Mexico.
The amber alert helped her be found, she said, and has “helped me keep going through healing and stuff, knowing that people were looking for me and that they’re on my side.”
Her father Brett Anderson sat with his daughter during the interview.
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