Hannah Anderson: Abductor 'made me play Russian roulette'
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In an exclusive interview airing Thursday on TODAY, kidnapping survivor Hannah Anderson describes the moment she learned that James Lee DiMaggio, a family friend, had a sinister plan for her — including a game of Russian roulette.
"When I got into the house, he handcuffed me and zip-tied my feet and then sat me down on the couch and told me what his plan was," she told Savannah Guthrie. "He told me he was going to kidnap me and take me to Idaho, where my intention was just to carry his backpacks to the river. And that he was gonna live there. And then he'd get me home afterwards."
DiMaggio brought Hannah, 16, to his home on Aug. 3 and told her that her mother and brother were in the house and alive, she said. Hannah revealed that she soon feared for her life.
"When we got into the house, after he told me the plan, he made me play Russian roulette with him sitting on the couch."
"When it was my turn, I started crying, and like, was freaking out," she said. "And he said, 'Do you want to play?' And I said, 'No.' And I started crying and then he's like, 'Okay.' And he stopped."
DiMaggio rigged his house to explode into flames, killing Hannah's mother and 8-year-old brother. A weeklong search then commenced for Hannah, a San Diego high school student, captivating the country. She was found and rescued in the backwoods of Idaho, after four horseback riders spotted her with DiMaggio and thought the duo looked out of place.
Hannah had a look of "pure fear" in her eyes, one of the riders told TODAY in an August interview. When they returned home, the riders contacted authorities after seeing the Amber Alert about Hannah's disappearance.
'Pure fear': Riders recount seeing Hannah Anderson in wildernessPlay Video
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Two months after her ordeal, Hannah says she is "sick, disgusted" and "angry" when she thinks about DiMaggio, and that she feels her abductor, who was ultimately killed by FBI agents in a shootout, got what he deserved.
Hannah also says that the Amber Alert not only saved her life, but has helped in her recovery. "It helped me keep going through healing," she told Guthrie, "knowing that people were looking for me and that they're on my side.”
Watch Hannah Anderson's interview with Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Thursday.