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James DiMaggio's sister to Piers Morgan: Hannah Anderson was 'trouble'

By Ed Payne, CNN
updated 10:21 PM EDT, Wed August 28, 2013
  • Lora DiMaggio warned her brother about Hannah Anderson
  • She doubts police account of what happened
  • She says her brother was trying to protect Hannah
  • "I don't want to bash anyone," she says

(CNN) -- A few weeks before James DiMaggio allegedly kidnapped Hannah Anderson, his sister said she told him that the 16-year-old girl was "trouble" and that he needed to "watch out."

In a sometimes contentious interview with CNN's Piers Morgan on Tuesday night, Lora DiMaggio held out the possibly that her brother was a victim, saying there were "a lot of holes" in the case.

"It's very hard to believe that someone who was just so genuine and so dependable every single solitary day just woke up one day and decided to do this," she said.

Instead, she cast doubt on Anderson.

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"I remember very vividly telling my brother, 'She's trouble,'" she said. "I said, 'You need to watch out for that one.'"

James DiMaggio allegedly kidnapped Hannah on August 4. Police later found the bodies of her mother and brother at his burned home, about an hour east of San Diego.

A police affidavit claims that mother Christina Anderson and brother Ethan had been "tortured and killed" by James DiMaggio before he set his home and garage ablaze.

After evading authorities for a week, he was spotted in the Idaho wilderness on August 10, nearly 1,000 miles from where the alleged kidnapping occurred.

An FBI agent shot him dead, and Hannah was returned to her family in Southern California.

Lora DiMaggio maintained that, despite the evidence presented by police, it wasn't clear her brother had done anything wrong

"The only evidence that has come forward at this point is the fact the two bodies were found on his property," she said. "There's a lot of missing information. I have yet to see any solid evidence."

Sister: DiMaggio was protecting Hannah

Lora DiMaggio said her brother may have come to the aid of Hannah.

"In my heart of hearts, I think that Hannah perhaps got herself into a situation that she couldn't get herself out of, and I do believe that my brother gave his life to protect her," she said.

Lora DiMaggio didn't explain what situation she thought the teen was in or why she needed protection.

Hannah was seen with James DiMaggio in his car about 20 hours before he allegedly set fire to his house, police said.

The two were in his blue Nissan Versa just after midnight August 4, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said. They were spotted at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint, according to authorities. They didn't say what the two were doing together or whether Hannah was with DiMaggio voluntarily.

Phone records indicate the two "called each other approximately 13 times" shortly before both their phones were turned off on August 4, a search warrant revealed.

In a TV interview with NBC News last week, Hannah said the two texted the day she was abducted because he was supposed to pick her up from cheerleading camp and he needed directions.

'Not the girl that stayed in my home'

First Hannah Anderson TV interview: 'My mom raised me to be strong'

During the same interview, Hannah described herself as a survivor and thanked those who have supported her.

"In the beginning I was a victim, but now knowing everyone out there is helping me, I consider myself a survivor instead," Hannah said. "My mom raised me to be strong."

Lora DiMaggio told Piers Morgan that she hardly recognized the teen.

"I know that the Hannah Anderson that I saw a few nights ago on the TV is certainly not the girl that stayed in my home three weeks prior to them disappearing," she said, but declined to provide specifics.

"I don't know, I don't want to bash anyone," she said. "It's certainly not my intent to come on here and bash anyone."

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

Part of complete coverage on
California family tragedy
updated 10:21 PM EDT, Wed August 28, 2013
A few weeks before James DiMaggio allegedly kidnapped Hannah Anderson, his sister told him that the 16-year-old girl was "trouble" and that he needed to "watch out."
updated 6:35 PM EDT, Sat August 24, 2013
Hannah Anderson mourned alongside family, friends and strangers, remembering the lives of her slain mother, Christina, and little brother, Ethan.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Fri August 23, 2013
Hannah Anderson described herself as a survivor, and thanked those who have supported her.
updated 11:18 AM EDT, Sat August 17, 2013
A handwritten note, handcuff box, camping equipment and a DNA swab kit were among the items found in the burned home and garage of James DiMaggio.
updated 3:08 PM EDT, Thu August 15, 2013
The California man who kidnapped 16-year-old Hannah Anderson "tortured and killed" her mother and brother before snatching her.
updated 4:18 AM EDT, Thu August 15, 2013
Hannah Anderson did what any teenage girl would do after a life-changing ordeal: she discussed it with peers online.
updated 10:06 AM EDT, Tue August 13, 2013
In a wild twist in the story of a kidnapped teenager saved when her alleged abductor was killed over the weekend, a report shows a disturbing similarity between the suspect and his father.
updated 10:24 AM EDT, Mon August 12, 2013
The horseback riders braving the rugged Idaho wilderness came upon the older man and younger female and sized them up on the spot: A pair of greenhorns, square pegs in hard country.
updated 12:54 AM EDT, Sun August 11, 2013
The man accused of kidnapping 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and murdering her mother and brother was killed on Saturday, bringing to an end a manhunt that spanned from California to Idaho, authorities said.
updated 11:56 AM EDT, Thu August 8, 2013
Many Californians were startled awake by Amber Alerts that made screeching noises on their cell phones. Some people even took to Twitter to complain.