KIDNAP victim Hannah Anderson has explained why she was texting her captor on the day of her abduction.
The 16-year-old gave her first interview overnight to a US television show as she prepares to bury her murdered mother and brother.
The teenager said she wanted to clarify some of the reported details surrounding her abduction.
Anderson told NBC’s Today show that the text messages exchanged with captor James Lee DiMaggio on the day of her abduction were regarding arrangements for him to pick her up from cheerleading camp.
“He didn’t know the address or what – like, where I was. So I had to tell him the address and tell him that I was gonna be in the gym and not in front of the school,” she said. “Just so he knew where to come get me.”
DiMaggio, 40, was apparently like an uncle to Hannah and her eight-year-old brother Ethan.
Investigators say he escaped with Hannah and killed 44-year-old Christina Anderson and her son, whose bodies were discovered after DiMaggio set fire to his Californian home on August 4.
Days later Hannah was rescued and DiMaggio was killed in shootout with FBI agents in the Idaho wilderness.
In the television interview Hannah also addressed reports that police had found letters she had written to DiMaggio at his property.
The teen said she had written them to him during a time when she wasn’t getting along with her mother.
“Me and him would talk about how to deal with it,” she said. “And I’d tell him how I felt about it. And he helped me through it. They weren’t anything bad. They’re just to help me through tough times.”
DiMaggio abducted Hannah on August 3 after murdering her mother and little brother.
In the interview Hannah also thanked her rescuers, the sheriff, the FBI, other authorities and everyone involved in her search.
“I’d like to say thank you. Because without them, I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” she said.
“And my dad and my friends and my family and just all my supporters that helped spread the word in the news,” she said. “Because the news helped get out there fast.”
Meanwhile DiMaggio’s family has asked for paternity tests to determine if the suspect was in fact Hanna’s biological father.
Andrew Spanswick, a spokesman for the family of James Lee DiMaggio, told KGTV that there are rumours that DiMaggio fathered both children, and that it was odd that the suspect named the girl’s paternal grandmother as his life insurance beneficiary.
“We think it’s strange he left them so much money with no explanation,” Spanswick said.
Lora Robinson, DiMaggio’s sister and lone survivor of his immediate family, collected DNA from her brother and wants samples from Hannah Anderson and her brother to determine paternity, Spanswick said. She has not yet asked for the samples but intends to at a later date.
“The biggest issue is, I think, that Lora wants closure on the case,” Spanswick said. “As Lora has heard these rumours, she would like to confirm whether they are true or not.”
Spanswick later said through his publicist, Cathy Griffin, that he made the statements and didn’t have anything to add.
Anderson family spokeswoman Stacy Hess said DiMaggio didn’t meet the children’s mother, Christina Anderson, until she was six months pregnant with Hannah.
Hess said Brett Anderson, the father of Hannah and Ethan, finds the suggestion that DiMaggio fathered the children “disgusting”.
She said the family had not yet received a DNA request directly from DiMaggio’s family and declined further comment.
Spanswick said the family’s interest in paternity tests, which was first reported by KGTV in San Diego, has been “blown way out of proportion” by the media.
“It’s just for clarity,” he said.
Investigators used Brett Anderson’s DNA to confirm the identity of Ethan Anderson, whose remains were found in the rubble of DiMaggio’s burned home, Hess said.
Spanswick said Monday that DiMaggio named Hannah’s grandmother, Bernice Anderson, as the sole beneficiary of his employer-issued life insurance policy, making her eligible to receive $112,000. He said he believed the money was intended for Hannah.