CASCADE, Idaho — A child’s body found in a burning house in Southern California is an 8-year-old boy whose mother was killed and whose sister is believed to have been abducted by a family friend, a sheriff’s officials said Friday.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said its crime laboratory has identified the body as 8-year-old Ethan Anderson.
A brief statement Friday night said that investigators identified the charred body through DNA extracted from the boy’s bone marrow.
The body was found Sunday along with the body of the boy’s mother Christina Anderson, who investigators say was murdered.
Ethan’s 16-year-old sister Hannah Anderson remains missing, and the search for her and her alleged kidnapper is focused on Idaho.
Authorities throughout the West have been looking for the teen and James Lee DiMaggio, 40, since the bodies of Christina Anderson and the previously unidentified boy were found Sunday at DiMaggio’s burned home near the Mexican border, about 65 miles east of San Diego.
DiMaggio was close to the family. Brett Anderson, Christina Anderson’s husband and the father of Ethan and Hannah Anderson, has described him as a best friend and said his children thought of him as an uncle.
Authorities have said DiMaggio had an “unusual infatuation” with the 16-year-old, although the father said he never saw any strange behavior. If he had, he said, “we would have quashed that relationship in an instant.”
DiMaggio, a telecommunications technician at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, was planning to move to Texas and invited Christina Anderson and the children to his home last weekend to say goodbye, said Christopher Saincome, Anderson’s father.
Spagat reported from San Diego. AP writers Bob Jablon and John Antczak contributed to this report from Los Angeles. AP writer Todd Dvorak contributed from Boise.