Local psychologist breaks down James DiMaggio's behavior

Says emotional disturbance at root of abduction

LA MESA, Calif. - 10News on Wednesday spoke with a local psychologist about why a long-time trusted friend would abduct a child.

Jim DiMaggio was considered a trusted family friend. Now, he is the focus of a nationwide manhunt.

Behavioral expert Michael Mantell, Ph.D., sat down with 10News to break down what is behind the motive of a child abductor.

"The fact is child abductors have mental defects," said Mantell. "They are sadistic. They are narcissistic. The mnemonic for remembering why they abduct is M.E.E. … money, extremism and emotional disturbance."

As 10News first reported Tuesday, a close family friend told 10News that 40-year-old DiMaggio was struggling with finances and that he was depressed and about to lose his home -- the same home in San Diego's East County community of Boulevard which burned to the ground on Sunday night. 

It is also where the bodies of 42-year-old Christina Anderson and an unidentified child were found.

DiMaggio, 40, is believed to be on the run with Anderson's daughter, 16-year-old Hannah and possibly her 8-year-old brother Ethan, according to San Diego sheriff's officials. Investigators suspect, however, that the boy may have been one of those killed last weekend on DiMaggio's property.

Hannah and Ethan were last seen Saturday night.

"From a life of loss of home, loss of standing, a loss of who he was, into a depression, it's not that he turns into a child abductor. It's simply another step in the continuum of his emotional disturbance," said Mantell.

Hannah's friend Kayla Amati told 10News that Hannah recently heard something "weird" from the man she called "Uncle Jim." She says he had confessed to Hannah that he had a crush on her.

"In his mind, he has to become delusional to think that this youngster, that this 16-year-old girl wants to be in a relationship with him," Mantell said.

He added, "Here, Uncle Jim thinks he's helping Hannah and he is harming her beyond anything he can imagine."

Hannah's family and friends are now praying for her safe return.   


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