National News

August 20, 2013

Kidnap suspect leaves money to victim’s family

SAN DIEGO — A man who died in a shootout with FBI agents after kidnapping a 16-year-old girl and killing her mother and brother named a member of the victims’ family as his life insurance beneficiary, a spokesman for the man’s family said Monday.

James Lee DiMaggio left $112,000 to Hannah Anderson’s paternal grandmother, said Andrew Spanswick. He didn’t know why but believes it was for the benefit of Hannah, the girl abducted by DiMaggio.

Hannah was rescued in the FBI shootout on Aug. 10 in the Idaho wilderness and returned home to San Diego.

DiMaggio, 40, had been like an uncle to the Anderson children and the father’s best friend.

DiMaggio named Bernice Anderson as the sole beneficiary of his employer-issued life insurance policy in 2011, substituting her for his sister Lora Robinson, the lone survivor of his immediate family, Spanswick said.

DiMaggio lived with Bernice Anderson for about two years before buying a house in 2009 in Boulevard, about 65 miles east of San Diego, Spanswick said.

Authorities found the remains of Christina Anderson, 44, and Ethan Anderson, 8, in the Boulevard house after it was set on fire.

DiMaggio’s sister called Hannah’s father, Brett Anderson, on Friday to tell him about the life insurance payment.

“They had a long conversation about their mutual loss, trying to make sense of what happened, and neither of them had an explanation,” Spanswick said. “Brett seemed to recognize that Lora was as much a victim in this as everyone else. He wished her the best.”

A spokeswoman for Brett Anderson and his family, Stacy Hess, declined to comment.

DiMaggio worked as a telecommunications technician at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. Spokeswoman Jan Coury also declined to comment.

Steven Weisbart, chief economist at the industry-backed Insurance Information Institute, said insurers generally won’t challenge a claim unless the beneficiary is suspected of involvement in the death.

Investigators have given no indication that DiMaggio had any accomplices.

“Pretty much as long you’re dead, the insurance company has very little opportunity to deny the claim,” Weisbart said.

Lora Robinson has taken possession of her brother’s cat, Princess, from Hannah Anderson, Spanswick said.  DiMaggio, a cat-lover, took Princess while on the run, and the cat was reunited with Hannah after the rescue.

 

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