You can now read 10 articles a month for free. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Man’s spree eerily similar to father’s

SAN DIEGO — A man who died in a shoot-out with FBI agents Saturday had abducted a 16-year-old family friend and killed her mother and younger brother exactly 15 years after his father committed suicide, a family spokesman said Monday.

James Lee DiMaggio, 40, appears to have followed in his father’s footsteps in a carefully laid plan, said Andrew Spanswick, a friend who runs a behavioral treatment center in West Hollywood.

Continue reading below

‘‘He clearly had a death wish,’’ Spanswick said.

DiMaggio is suspected of killing 44-year-old Christina Anderson and 8-year-old Ethan Anderson and leaving their bodies in his burning home near San Diego on Aug. 4. He triggered a massive search in much of the Western United States and parts of Canada and Mexico for Hannah Anderson, who was rescued in Saturday’s shootout.

Spanswick said DiMaggio’s father disappeared exactly 15 years before the house was set on fire. James Everet DiMaggio was addicted to methamphetamine and had a troubled life marred by criminal activity, Spanswick said. His cause of death was listed as dehydration, but he consumed a large amount of methamphetamine intravenously and ‘‘walked into the desert,’’ he said.

The elder DiMaggio had been arrested after breaking into the home of his former girlfriend, wearing a ski mask and carrying a sawed-off shotgun and handcuffs, Spanswick said. The former girlfriend was not home, but DiMaggio held her 16-year-old daughter and her boyfriend at gunpoint. The girl escaped after asking to use the bathroom.

Spanswick said he confirmed details of the elder DiMaggio’s death and criminal history with Lora Robinson, James Lee DiMaggio’s sister and only surviving family member. Robinson, who has not responded to phone messages, asked Spanswick to serve as a family spokesman.

The victim of the elder DiMaggio’s kidnapping attempt — now an adult — told KFMB-TV that her attacker professed his love after breaking up with her mother in 1988 and announced he was taking her away to ‘‘give me a good life.’’ She pleaded with him not to kill her, her boyfriend, and her brother.

‘‘Don’t worry, it’ll be over quick,’’ the woman remembered the elder DiMaggio saying.

Spanswick said he alerted authorities Friday when Lora Robinson told him the date of her father’s death.

‘‘There’s too much coincidence for this not to be directly associated with that,’’ he said.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week