A teenage girl in California says that the fugitive accused of setting fire to a house and kidnapping another girl made her feel uncomfortable, and that he instructed them not to lock the bedroom door during sleepovers.
Cassie Luongo told NBC San Diego that the fugitive, James Lee DiMaggio, seemed nice but was always “just kind of weird.” In hindsight, she said, her exchanges with the man seem frightening.
At sleepovers, “We went to bed and we locked the door, and he got angry with us, and he told us not to lock it,” she said. “He said that he wanted to hang out with us, and he got mad that we didn’t hang out with him.”
San Diego County Sheriff's Dept. via Reuters
James Lee DiMaggio is shown in this photo released to the media on Aug. 6.
Authorities suspect DiMaggio, 40, of setting fire to his own house, killing a woman and a boy inside, and kidnapping another 16-year-old, Hannah Anderson. Authorities in four states, Canada and Mexico are looking for him.
Hannah’s mother, Christina Anderson, 44, was killed in the fire on Sunday outside San Diego, and authorities believe the child’s body may be that of Hannah’s 8-year-old brother, Ethan. The boy is still classified as missing.
Police warned Thursday that DiMaggio might have booby-trapped his getaway car or a hideout with explosives.
Hannah’s father, Brett Anderson, issued an extraordinary appeal to his missing daughter earlier this week from sheriff’s headquarters: “We all love you very much. If you have a chance, you take it. You run. You’ll be found.”
San Diego sheriff’s officials have said DiMaggio have had an “unusual infatuation” with Hannah.
“That is kind of a working theory, that it may be something of a motivator,” San Diego County sheriff’s Capt. Duncan Fraser told NBC San Diego. “It’s definitely something that we're looking at.”
Marissa Chavez, 15, told The Associated Press that a couple months ago she had witnessed DiMaggio tell her friend that he had a crush on her and would date her if they were the same age, as they drove home from a gymnastics competition.
“She was a little creeped out by it. She didn’t want to be alone with him,” Chavez told the news service.
Cassie Luongo’s father, Mike Luongo, tried to put out the fire at DiMaggio’s home on Sunday before firefighters got there, NBC San Diego reported.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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This story was originally published on Fri Aug 9, 2013 12:41 PM EDT