In a twist that was prefaced by Internet rumors, James DiMaggio's family says they will ask for DNA samples from alleged kidnapping victim Hannah Anderson and her younger brother, Ethan, whose body was found burnt beyond recognition at DiMaggio's home in July. DiMaggio's sole surviving family member, sister Lora Robinson, said through a spokesman that she would be pursuing the 16- and 8-year-old's' paternity due to rumors, speculation, and the "strange" fact that her brother made Hannah Anderson's paternal grandmother the sole beneficiary of his life insurance policy.
The Associated Press reported (via Yahoo News) Aug. 21 that Andrew Spanswick, DiMaggio family spokesman, said Robinson would seek DNA samples from the teen at a later date in an effort to establish paternity. He said the tests would bring closure for Robinson and "clarity."
If there's one thing lacking in the suspected Anderson kidnapping from southern California by James Lee DiMaggio in late July, a situation that developed over a seven-day period and ended with DiMaggio's death in Idaho, it is clarity. The San Diego County Sheriff's office has been close-lipped about the investigation nearly from the start. And with nearly two weeks having transpired since DiMaggio's shooting death and Anderson's recovery, there remain plenty of questions without definitive answers.
Investigators have yet to announce a motive for not only the alleged abduction of Hannah Anderson but also the killings of reported close friend, Christina Anderson, her 8-year-old son, Ethan, and the family dog. Unanswered also is why DiMaggio burned his own home in Boulevard, Calif., before vanishing with the 16-year-old, who was last seen at her cheerleading practice.
Rumors abound on the Internet, of course. Letters found from Hannah to DiMaggio that were found in the burned home have not been addressed by authorities publicly, nor has the specific manner and cause of death of the two people found there. And then there were the suggestions of DiMaggio's love interest in the teen, a gossip-generating tidbit provided by a friend of Hannah's who said the 40-year-old DiMaggio had once confided to Hannah that he had a crush on her and would date her if she were older.
"As Lora has heard these rumors, she would like to confirm whether they are true or not," Spanswick said.
He added that it was a "little strange" that DiMaggio chose as his life insurance beneficiary Bernice Anderson. He speculated that the money -- $112,000 -- was intended for Hannah.
Still, the clarity being sought by Robinson might not simply be to establish paternity but more to quell the insinuations that her brother may have been having or attempting to have an inappropriate relationship with the teen. Establishing paternity would provide another motive for disappearing with Hannah Anderson, although the horrific measures allegedly taken by James DiMaggio to actualize leaving California with the teenager may be part a very complicated line of reasoning that might not ever be totally understood.
As for the Anderson family, news that DiMaggio's family wants DNA samples were rebuffed as "disgusting." Besides, family spokeswoman Stacy Hess noted, the children's father, Brett Anderson, provided DNA to establish positive identity of Ethan. With regard to Hannah, she said the Andersons did not actually meet James DiMaggio, who would become the family's closest friend, until Christina Anderson was six months pregnant with Hannah.
The question that presents itself now is: Will Lora Robinson's pursuit of a paternal linkage between Hannah Anderson and Robinson's brother, James, bring clarity to a murky set of circumstances and acts or tend to add to the growing number of unanswered questions surrounding the case?