Close friend of accused California kidnapper, murderer shares insightson August 9, 2013 @ 4:42 pm (Updated: 3:23 pm - 8/12/13 )
Andrew Spanswick offered his insights during an extended conversation Friday with KIRO Radio's Dori Monson. He says he first learned of the fire that destroyed the family home near San Diego - where 16-year-old Hannah Anderson's mother was later found dead - while traveling in Washington state. He got a call from a close friend who's married to DiMaggio's sister.
"We were confused. He's not a smoker and so we couldn't figure out how he could have burned to death in his house," Spanswick says. "We just assumed that Jim had actually died and that went on for two days. And then we find out there was an unidentified woman in the house. So this whole thing became stranger and stranger and more and more confusing for his family members."
Spanswick, a mental health specialist who operates a number of psychiatric and substance abuse facilities, says while he hadn't seen DiMaggio for several months there was little indication anything was out of the ordinary before the disappearance. However, he had reportedly begun smoking marijuana several months ago, which was out of character for him.
"Obviously it doesn't look good. Something's obviously happened. There's a long history of substance abuse in the family and so we're concerned there might be some drug-induced psychosis that might have tripped Jim up," he says.
DiMaggio was close to the family. The children's father has described him as a best friend and said his children thought of him as an uncle. But even though there had been no indication anything was out of the ordinary as DiMaggio prepared to move to Texas for a new job, Spanswick admits he can't rule anything out.
"I've seen people have psychotic breaks and do all sorts of strange things, so I'm a little jaded. And nothing would surprise me in terms of what the human being is capable of with mental illness," he says.
"I have to, as a clinician, step back from my personal relationship and say that yes anybody can potentially be capable of heinous acts. The question is what induced it, why did it happen and did that really happen? We still don't really know."
What Spanswick does know is despite all the speculation, there are no definitive answers. For example, he cites reports that DiMaggio had an "unusual infatuation" with the teen girl and had said he would date her if they were closer to the same age. A friend of Anderson's reportedly told authorities the girl was "creeped out" and didn't want to be alone with him.
DiMaggio's car was discovered Friday in the Idaho wilderness after horseback riders reported seeing the man and girl hiking in the area two days earlier.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said at a news conference Friday when the riders saw the two, the girl did not appear as if she was being held against her will. He did not elaborate. She and DiMaggio seemed healthy.
But Spanswick says the girl might not even know anything out of the ordinary happened and simply thinks she's on a camping trip with "Uncle Jim," or could have willingly gone with him.
"This could be statutory rape, this might not be pedophilia as everybody is sort of out there pronouncing out in the media. And if it's statutory rape and there's manipulation involved with the girl that's a different situation," he says.
According to Spanswick, DiMaggio was a military veteran who did classified work he kept secret from family and friends. "There's a possibility he's very good at covering things up," he says.
Spanswick has been providing counsel and comfort to DiMaggio's family, especially his sister. He says they are devastated and praying the pair are brought home safely, along with answers to what really happened.
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