After being kidnapped by a family friend and rescued by authorities, Hannah Anderson appeared on Today this morning to thank those who saved her and to clarify details of her relationship with the kidnapper. Authorities have said that on Aug. 3, James DiMaggio — a family friend — killed Hannah's mother and 8-year-old brother before burning his house and abducting the 16-year-old. Following an Amber Alert and days of searching for DiMaggio and Hannah, authorities eventually found the pair and confronted DiMaggio in the Idaho backcountry, where a shootout left him dead.
Since then, details of the family's relationship with DiMaggio have come into question as authorities try to make sense of his actions. Today Hannah shed light on her connection to DiMaggio, saying that she'd been texting with him because he was supposed to pick her up from cheerleading camp. She said she'd also exchanged letters with him in the past, seeking out advice when she and her mother weren't getting along. “Me and him would talk about how to deal with it,” she said. “And I’d tell him how I felt about it. And he helped me through it. They weren’t anything bad. They’re just to help me through tough times.”
The teen became visibly shaken while talking about the death of her younger brother, saying, "He had a big heart." During this difficult time, she said her mother's influence has helped her cope. "She was strong-hearted and very tough. She knew how to handle things."
Hannah also addressed the media attention, which has sometimes been challenging as she tries to return to her normal life. “You are who you are,” she said. “And you shouldn’t let people change that. And you have your own opinion on yourself, and other people’s opinion shouldn't matter.”