SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Hannah Anderson, the Southern California teenager whose alleged abductor authorities say killed her mother and brother, wiped away tears on Saturday at a memorial service for her slain family.
Some 250 people attended the service for Christina Anderson, 44, and her son Ethan, 8, at the Guardian Angels Roman Catholic Church about 20 miles east of San Diego.
It was held two weeks after a multi-state search for Anderson, 16, and her suspected kidnapper, James Lee DiMaggio, 40, ended at a mountain lake in the Idaho wilderness, where an FBI agent shot and killed DiMaggio.
Police say that, before driving off with Hannah, the family friend-turned-abductor lured Christina Anderson and Ethan to his home in Boulevard near San Diego and killed them.
Their bodies were discovered on August 4 in the wreckage of the property, which DiMaggio is believed to have set ablaze with the aid of a timer.
“Ethan was a handsome little guy with spirit, the kind of guy you’d want for a son, a brother, a friend,” the boy’s great-uncle, Dave Braun, told those in attendance.
Braun described Christina Anderson as a “wonderful mother and friend” who was always ready to help people. “We will miss them forever and always think of them,” he said.
The Anderson family lived in Lakeside near San Diego.
The slayings and kidnapping made national headlines and triggered one of the most widespread Amber Alerts in the history of the system used to notify motorists of a kidnapping.
DiMaggio and Anderson were photographed in his car at 12:10 a.m. on August 4, some 20 hours before DiMaggio’s house went up in flames. Anderson later told NBC News in an interview that aired on “Today” that DiMaggio had picked her up the previous day from her cheerleading camp.
“Our prayers were answered for the safe return of Hannah and true justice was served that day by the FBI,” Braun said. “Now we turn our thoughts to healing.”
Authorities have not publicly discussed any possible motives for DiMaggio’s alleged actions. Braun told reporters that DiMaggio had developed an apparent infatuation with the high school student that had made Hannah uncomfortable.
Braun noted that it was particularly troubling that his niece and great-nephew were killed by a close family friend.
“We are still shocked by that,” Braun said. “We are concerned now about Hannah and how she’ll recover from this.”
Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Xavier Briand