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Searches turn up letters from California teen to abductor

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A California man who abducted the 16-year-old daughter of a longtime family friend and took her to the Idaho wilderness after killing her mother and brother had letters from the teen, search warrants showed on Friday.

The San Diego County Sheriff's office warrants also showed 13 phone calls or text messages between phones belonging to the San Diego area girl and her abductor, James DiMaggio, on the day she went missing.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department, which requested eight search warrants in the case, declined to say whether Anderson or DiMaggio initiated the calls.

Agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation shot and killed DiMaggio and rescued Hannah Anderson on Saturday in the rugged Idaho mountains after a multi-state manhunt. They were located after a group of horseback riders told authorities they had encountered the pair.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Caldwell stressed on Friday that after extensively interviewing Hannah Anderson and reviewing the evidence, investigators had concluded she was an innocent victim.

"Hannah was a victim in every sense of the word," Caldwell said Friday. "We cannot be more clear on that."

Hannah Anderson's mother, Christina Anderson, 44, and her dog were found dead in the garage of DiMaggio's home on August 4 in the rural community of Boulevard, California, about 45 miles east of San Diego.

Her 8-year-old brother, Ethan, was found in DiMaggio's log cabin after a fire that burned the house to the ground and left investigators so little to go on that they had to use DNA to identify the boy.

One of the warrants said the mother and son had been tortured and killed. The records showed that DiMaggio also had a makeshift bomb in his garage, and suggest he may have also rigged the house to burn.

"WELFARE CHECK"

The Anderson family was last seen alive by neighbors on Saturday, August 3, deputies said. Deputies had checked their apartment in the San Diego area community of Lakeside on Sunday after a neighbor called to express concern and found no one home, according to the warrants. The warrants did not say who requested the welfare check, or check on their well being.

The deputies' search of DiMaggio's home, conducted as authorities hunted for clues to help them locate the missing teen, recovered 53 items including a crow bar, an incendiary device, tape, empty ammunition boxes and a red dog leash, according to the court documents.

Authorities also found an empty handcuff box, a knife box, small caliber ammunition, an empty gas canister and a pair of women's sunglasses.

In the Anderson family apartment, investigators recovered six computers, both towers and laptops, five still and video cameras and two iPods.

Also in the apartment, detectives gathered items including Hannah Anderson's orthodontic retainer, greeting cards, El Capitan High School paperwork, a picture album and a photo of DiMaggio.

Detectives also searched telephone and Facebook accounts belonging to Lora DiMaggio Robinson, DiMaggio's sister.

Hannah Anderson's father, Brett Anderson, has said he was baffled by the actions of DiMaggio, whom he described as a trusted longtime friend considered an uncle by the children.

A law enforcement source said DiMaggio had served as the best man at Brett and Christina Anderson's wedding.

(Writing by Sharon Bernstein and Marty Graham; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Ken Wills, Toni Reinhold)

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