Hannah Anderson has addressed her critics, saying in a televised interview that she does not care about “other people’s opinions.”
The 16-year-old California girl was rescued earlier this month after the man who abducted her and killed her mother and younger brother was killed in an FBI shootout.
Authorities have called Anderson a “victim in every sense of the word,” but she has been dogged by critics who suggest she knows more about James Lee DiMaggio’s crimes than she is letting on.
“You are who you are and you shouldn’t let people change that. You have your own opinion on yourself and other people’s opinions shouldn’t matter,” Anderson said on NBC’s “Today” show this morning.
Anderson also addressed the release of search warrants last week that show she and DiMaggio communicated via letters and had exchanged about 13 phone calls on the day her mother and brother were killed.
“The phone calls weren’t phone calls, they were texts because he was picking me up from cheer camp … The letters were from like a year ago when me and my mom were not getting along very well … They weren’t anything bad, they were just to help me get through tough times,” Anderson told “Today”.
Authorities say DiMaggio killed Anderson’s mother, 44-year-old Christina Anderson, and her brother, 8-year-old Ethan Anderson. Their bodies were found after DiMaggio set fire to his Boulevard home on Aug. 4.
DiMaggio, who was reportedly like an uncle to the Anderson children, escaped with Hannah. The teen was rescued on Aug. 10, when FBI agents killed DiMaggio in the Idaho wilderness.
On Wednesday, more controversy in the case surfaced when Andrew Spanswick, a spokesman for the family of James Lee DiMaggio, announced the family wants a paternity test to determine if DiMaggio fathered the Anderson children. Spanswick cited online rumors and said it was “strange” that the suspect had named Hannah Anderson’s grandmother the sole beneficiary of his $112,000 life insurance policy. Spanswick said he believes the money was intended for Hannah Anderson, The Associated Press reported.
Anderson family spokeswoman Stacy Hess denied the rumors and told the AP that DiMaggio did not meet the children’s mother until she was six months pregnant with Hannah.
Hannah Anderson did not specifically address the paternity debate, but did say she does not concern herself with naysayers.
“They don’t really know the story so they kind of have their own opinion on what they hear,” she told “Today”.
The teen added, “In the beginning I was a victim, but now … I consider myself a survivor instead.”