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In brief: Abductee’s letters among items authorities gather

Sat., Aug. 17, 2013

San Diego – Letters from Hannah Anderson were among items seized by authorities in a search of kidnap and murder suspect James DiMaggio’s San Diego County property, warrants revealed, along with duct tape, handcuff boxes and other materials.

Also taken from DiMaggio’s property were empty boxes of camping gear and ammunition, a Yosemite camping printout, incendiary devices, “arson wire,” model rocket containers and cut electrical cords, the documents said.

The search warrants did not detail what the letters – or another handwritten note – said.

The documents released this week provided a glimpse into the nearly weeklong search for the 16-year-old Anderson and the slaying of her mother and brother, who were found dead Aug. 4 at DiMaggio’s burning property.

Authorities allege DiMaggio – so close a friend to the Anderson family that the children called him “Uncle Jim” – “tortured and killed” Hannah’s mother and brother before kidnapping the teen, eventually taking her to a remote stretch of Idaho back country.

Horseback riders spotted DiMaggio and Hannah at a lake about 75 miles north of Boise on Aug. 7, shifting the multistate search to Idaho. Two FBI hostage teams raided the pair’s campsite three days later and safely rescued Hannah. DiMaggio was shot and killed; authorities said he fired a rifle at least once at the agents.

Flight recorder shows UPS pilots got warnings

Birmingham, Ala. – A flight recorder revealed that pilots of a UPS cargo jet that crashed short of a runway at Birmingham’s airport received warnings about their rate of descent seconds before impact, investigators said Friday.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt told reporters during a briefing that a recorder captured the first of two audible warnings in the cockpit 16 seconds before the sound of an impact, either with trees or the ground.

The warnings indicated the A300 cargo plane was descending at a rate outside normal parameters given its altitude, Sumwalt said, but investigators haven’t made any determination on the actual cause of the crash into an Alabama hillside.

“We haven’t ruled anything in, haven’t ruled anything out,” he said.

The aircraft went down less than a mile from the end of Runway 18 at Birmingham’s airport before dawn Wednesday. UPS has identified the victims of the crash as Capt. Cerea Beal Jr., 58, of Matthews, N.C., and First Officer Shanda Fanning, 37, of Lynchburg, Tenn.

Sumwalt said the plane was being flown by the captain – who had 8,600 hours of flight experience, including 3,200 hours in an A300.


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