Christina and Ethan Anderson Murders: How Did James Lee DiMaggio Die?

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A blaze of fire at a residence in Boulevard, California, caught the authorities’ attention in August 2013. But that was only the beginning of a harrowing tale of kidnapping and murder that left everybody stunned. Each episode of Lifetime’s true-crime docuseries titled ‘#TextMeWhenYouGetHome’ deals with cases where innocent women are taken against their will. One such case started with the authorities discovering the bodies of Christina and Ethan Anderson inside the burned home. So, if you’re wondering how it all happened, we’ve got you covered.

How Did Christina and Ethan Anderson Die?

Christina Marie Anderson was a 44-year-old mother of two who’d proudly graduated from Santana High School in California years prior. She practiced holistic healing after getting a degree as a holistic health practitioner. Apart from being a fitness enthusiast, she liked dancing as well as NASCAR. Her two children were with Brett Anderson: Hannah and Ethan. At the time of the incident, Hannah was 16, whereas Ethan was 8.

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Christina and her two kids were in Boulevard, visiting a friend who was to leave for Texas soon. On August 4, 2013, the authorities received a call regarding a fire at that very house. After the firefighters put off the blaze, they found Christina’s body under a tarp in the garage. A crowbar was beside her, along with what appeared to be blood. Christina’s badly burned body was bound at the ankles, and her mouth was covered with duct tape.

The loving mother had severe blunt force trauma, with her head being hit at least 12 times, according to her autopsy. This report further showed Christina had a fractured arm and legs and a cut on her neck. Close by, the family dog was found under a sleeping bag and shot to death. The authorities found 8-year-old Ethan’s charred body in another area of the house. They believed that he died because of the fire, but he also had skeletal fractures.

Who Killed Christina and Ethan Anderson?

The house belonged to James Lee DiMaggio Jr., who was well-known to the Anderson family. He was even the best man at Christina and Brett’s wedding, and the children lovingly called him Uncle Jim. By then, the family had already reported Hannah and Ethan missing. The child’s body found inside the house could only be identified through DNA testing later. So, the authorities then focused on finding Hannah and James, who presumably had her.

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It was believed that James picked Hannah up from cheerleading practice on August 3, 2013. Soon, a multi-state search ensued, with the police catching a break a few days later. On August 7, 2013, a horseback rider recalled talking to a man and a teenage girl in the wilderness near Cascade, Idaho. He later realized who they were and alerted the authorities. James’ car was found in the area on August 8, covered in brush with the plates missing.

The investigators received more information on August 9, when a camper remembered seeing a man and a girl camping in the mountains at Morehead Lake in Idaho. The following day, the authorities used an airplane to scour the large area and eventually located James and Hannah. Ground forces didn’t take long to zero in on their location and attempt to save her.

How Did James Lee DiMaggio Die?

At the campground, the authorities saw James Lee DiMaggio go into the woods to collect some wood for the fire. Believing this to be the moment to rescue Hannah Anderson, they moved in, and in the process, James fired at least once. During that confrontation, an FBI agent shot him five times in the head, arms, and upper torso, killing the 40-year-old at around 5:20 p.m. on August 10, 2013. Hannah seemed unhurt but was taken to a hospital.

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Witnesses later revealed that Hannah felt uncomfortable around James after he once told her that he had a crush on her. The evidence at the burned-down house also indicated that James had planned this ahead of time. The authorities located some letters from Hannah, a handcuff box, and camping equipment in the house and garage. In addition, they found duct tape, used condoms, ammo, and arson wire, among other things.

Not just that, James had even named the kids’ grandmother as the beneficiary in a $112,000 life insurance policy. The money was intended for Hannah and Ethan. While the motive remained a mystery, emails from him to Hannah suggested that he worried about Hannah growing apart from him as she got older. Furthermore, his father also had an eerily similar incident where he held a teenager at gunpoint after telling her he loved her. James’ father had killed himself precisely 18 years before James was killed in the shooting. In other words, he wanted Hannah for himself and went to extremes to make it possible.

Read More: Where is Hannah Anderson Now?