Kidnapped California teen Hannah Anderson speaks out online
(CNN) — Hannah Anderson did what any teenage girl would do after a life-changing ordeal: she discussed it with peers online.
The 16-year-old fielded anonymous questions on the website ask.fm, where she shared details about her abduction by the man she knew as Uncle Jim, James DiMaggio.
She did not want to go with him, and did not escape after she was abducted out of fear he would kill her, she said in the postings. And, she added, she’s “absolutely” glad he is dead.
Alan MacNabb, whose son is one of Hannah’s closest friends, confirmed to CNN Wednesday that the postings on ask.fm were by Hannah.
A check of the site on Wednesday night indicated Hannah had disabled her account.
The California teenager was rescued Saturday after family friend DiMaggio held her hostage for a week. This, police say, after he killed her mother and brother. The frantic search for the teenager stretched from southern California to the Idaho wilderness, where she was found at a campsite by a mountain lake.
‘He was my dad’s best friend’
During the session, one user asked her if she wanted to go with DiMaggio.
“No, not at all,” she said.
Why didn’t you run?
“He would have killed me,” she said.
Why didn’t you tell your parents he creeped you out?
“In part, he was my dad’s best friend and I didn’t want to ruin anything between them,” she said.
Tied up in a garage
Hannah shed new light on the night she was kidnapped — the same night her mother and younger brother were killed and their bodies burned in DiMaggio’s house.
“How did he separate you from your mom and brother?” a user asked.
She said he tied them up in the garage.
“How did he keep the fire a secret?”
Her response: “He had it set where it would catch on fire at a certain time.”
DiMaggio threatened to kill her if she fled and brought her at least in part, to help carry equipment in the wilderness, she said.
Glad kidnapper is dead
Some questions were brutally blunt.
“Did he rape you?
Hannah declined to answer that question.
“I’m not allowed to talk about it, so don’t ask questions about it, thank you,” she said.
Are you glad he’s dead?
“Absolutely,” she said.
Hannah, who lives in the San Diego area, went missing after cheerleading practice on August 3. The next day, the bodies of her mother, Christina Anderson, 42, and 8-year-old brother, Ethan, were found about 45 miles east of San Diego, in DiMaggio’s burned house in Boulevard. The body of a dog was also recovered, police said.
Her ordeal came to an end after a tip from horseback riders sent FBI agents swarming to a camping spot outside Cascade, Idaho.
DiMaggio, the man investigators had sought in her disappearance, was shot in a confrontation with an FBI tactical agent.
When asked what she would say to Ethan and her mother if she got a chance, her response was a reminder of her trauma.
“I wish I could go back in time and risk my life to try and save theirs,” she said. “I will never forgive myself for not trying harder to save them.”
Those who know her say she spent some of her day helping to plan their funerals.
Psychotherapist: ‘In a numb state’
Some experts questioned the wisdom of the online chats.
“This is a 16-year-old who’s totally traumatized, she’s in a state of trauma and so she’s not thinking,” psychotherapist Wendy Walsh said. “Sometimes in a numb state, you do things that you don’t really consider the consequences.”
The teen even posted a selfie … a self portrait of one’s face posted online. She also engaged in lighter conversation, but even some of that seemed painful.
What design did you get on your nails?
“Pink for my mom and blue for Ethan,” she said, referring to her 8-year-old brother.
Ask.fm is a user-fueled, question-and-answer social media site, which claims to have 70 million users worldwide. Users can skip around the site asking people whatever they want, with the end result being profile pages that read like questionnaires.
It has recently drawn heavy criticism as a hive of cyberbullying however, following several instances of teenage ask.fm members committing suicide after being harassed on the site. The suicide earlier this month of a 14-year-old British girl prompted UK Prime Minister David Cameron to call for a boycott of ask.fm. Several advertisers have also recently cut ties with the site, which allows users to remain anonymous.
HLNtv.com’s Jonathan Anker contributed to this report.
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