Kidnap Suspect’s Father Had Violent Criminal Past

An article published in San Diego in 1990 cites an attempted murder case involving James Everet DiMaggio

Ada County Sheriff's Office

James Lee DiMaggio, the man suspected of abducting Lakeside teenager Hannah Anderson after killing her mother and brother, appears to have a troubled family history.

According to San Diego Superior Court records, DiMaggio’s late father – James Everet DiMaggio – had a criminal record.

Court records show that two felony cases were filed on July 18, 1989, and on August 9, 1989, in San Diego’s East County. It is unclear it those particular cases are related.

Records show another felony case was filed against James Everet DiMaggio on February 14, 1990, in downtown San Diego.

TIMELINE: Search for Hannah Anderson

According to a February 1990 article published in “The Tribune,” James Everet DiMaggio was charged with attempted murder stemming from the beating of two people at an El Cajon motel on Christmas Day, 1989.

The archived article says 35-year-old James Everet DiMaggio disappeared shortly after victims Cynthia Marie Bryant, 32, and David Aaron DeBord were attacked with a baseball bat at the Ha’Penny Inn on Main Street.

James Everet DiMaggio wound up turning himself in to police nine days after the attack, the article states.

The article references DiMaggio’s preliminary hearing on the case, which took place in February 1990.

A visibly scarred Bryant testified at the hearing, saying she had arranged for James Everet DiMaggio – whom she knew as “Jimbo” – to buy crystal methamphetamine on Christmas Eve.

Bryant said she, DeBord and James Everet DiMaggio all injected crystal meth in the El Cajon motel room, staying up all night the article said.

Then, on Christmas morning, things turned.

The two men argued over her, Bryant testified.

While in the bathroom she said she heard a yelp and when she walked out, she saw DeBord lying face down on the floor in a puddle of blood, the article said.

Bryant testified that a “deranged” James Everet DiMaggio then attacked her with an aluminum baseball bat, saying “he had nothing to lose.”

Her arm was broken and she was struck in the head with a bat. Bryant said she fell to the floor, and then James Everet DiMaggio allegedly placed tape over her mouth and tied her up with extension cords.

Bryant lost consciousness, and when she awoke she left the room and called police the article stated.

At the time of publication, the February 1990 article stated that James Everet DiMaggio was in jail, serving a two-year sentence stemming from an unrelated case.

That particular case included breaking into an ex-girlfriend’s home and holding the woman and her daughter at gunpoint after a dispute over a new car. He pleaded guilty to burglary in that case, the article said.

In the newspaper clip, James Everet DiMaggio is described as a former car salesman who worked at a car dealership in El Cajon. He was described as a divorced father of two.

James Everet DiMaggio wound up committing suicide more than a decade ago on Aug. 10, a family friend confirmed.

Meanwhile, his son -- kidnap and murder suspect James Lee DiMaggio of Boulevard -- was killed in the Idaho backcountry near Morehead Lake on August 10, 2013.

James DiMaggio is suspected of killing Lakeside resident Christina Anderson, 44, and her son, Ethan Anderson, 8. Their charred bodies were found on DiMaggio's property east of San Diego where a log-style cabin and detached garage burned to the ground on Aug. 4.

After the fire, DiMaggio fled San Diego with Hannah Anderson, 16, Christina's daughter and Ethan's sister. Authorities believed he may have abducted the girl, and officials issued an Amber Alert that spanned across six states.

Ultimately, the pair was spotted in Idaho backcountry near Morehead Lake by a group of horseback riders, who then tipped off law enforcement officers.

On Saturday, officials honed in on Hannah and DiMaggio and found them at a campsite in rugged terrain. Hannah was recovered by officials, while DiMaggio was killed at the scene.

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