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Police warn of rigged car in search

by ELLIOT SPAGAT Associated Press on August 09, 2013 10:15 AM

SAN DIEGO — A massive search for a man suspected of abducting a 16-year-old family friend entered a sixth day today as police warned he may have abandoned his car while on the run and rigged it with explosives.

James Lee DiMaggio, 40, may have had an “unusual infatuation” with the missing girl, Hannah Anderson, said San Diego County Sheriff’s Capt. Duncan Fraser.

“That is kind of a working theory, that it may be something of a motivator,” Fraser said Thursday.

On Sunday night, authorities found the body of Hannah’s mother — 44-year-old Christina Anderson — when they extinguished flames at DiMaggio’s rural home. A child’s body also was discovered as they sifted through rubble in Boulevard, a tiny town 65 miles east of San Diego.

The body may be that of Hannah’s 8-year-old brother, Ethan. Fraser said it could take several days to identify the badly burned remains. Investigators were unable to extract DNA.

Evidence found in the rubble suggested DiMaggio may have fled with homemade explosives, Fraser said, declining to elaborate on what was discovered. The car may be booby-trapped, he said.

“In the event that someone comes across the car, they need to use caution,” Fraser said.

DiMaggio is wanted on suspicion of murder and arson in a search that began in California and spread to Oregon, Washington, Nevada, British Columbia and Mexico’s Baja California state. An additional eight FBI agents were assigned to a command post at San Diego sheriff’s headquarters, as state and local law enforcement agencies were on alert.

A possible sighting was reported in northeast California near Alturas Wednesday afternoon, followed by another about 50 miles along the same highway near Lakeview, in south-central Oregon.

Fraser, whose office had hundreds of leads on DiMaggio’s whereabouts, said the Oregon tip appeared “very credible.”

Washington State Patrol responded to reports of sightings on Interstate 5, including the Tacoma area, Vancouver and at least one near Bremerton, said Sgt. Jason Hicks.

Messages seeking DiMaggio and the Anderson children appeared on digital billboards and freeway signs, said Bob Hoever, director of special programs for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

In Mexico, airports, bus and taxi companies and law enforcement agencies were on the lookout, said Alfredo Arenas, international liaison for the Baja California state police.

“This is a pretty much an all-hands-on-deck effort. It’s huge,” Fraser said.

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