Breaking news late Friday Aug. 9, 2013: Please also see Body in Fire Officially ID'd as Ethan Anderson
On a day that was mostly about Hannah Anderson, it was impossible for his loved ones not to think of Ethan, her little brother.
Friends and family of Hannah, the missing Lakeside teen, gathered with over 100 supporters for the second candlelight vigil this week, this time at Lindo Lake County Park.
But that park was Ethan’s home away from home, his father Brett Anderson said, and it holds a ton of memories for loved ones.
Anderson described the popular recreation area as “Ethan’s playground.”
“[Ethan] was here probably five days a week,” he said.
“Ethan used to fish here,” said Jennifer Willis, his mother’s aunt. “He was my fishing buddy and I really miss him.”
Though the search goes on for Hannah and Friday brought breaks in her case, the prospects for Ethan, 8, continued to dim, and by 9:30 p.m. flickered out completely. That's when the San Diego County Sheriff's Department confirmed that remains of a boy recovered last Sunday Ethan's by using DNA testing of his bone marrow.
But just a couple of hours earlier, the mood was cautiously optimistic after word that a girl who resembled Hannah Anderson was spotted with her alleged captor, Jim DiMaggio, in Idaho as recently as Wednesday.
Supporters wore shirts that read “Pray 4 Hannah” and “#HannahStrong” while holding candles in plastic cups.
“I would say we have a lot more positive vibes within us now that there’s been a sighting of [Hannah],” Angelina Amati, a close family friend, told Santee Patch.
Amati also said that she believes Hannah has not been harmed and that she may not run away from DiMaggio until she believes she is safe to do so.
“I believe that Hannah is playing dumb and feeding into his infatuation,” Amati said. “She knows that’s what’s going to get her home.”
Hannah’s father said, “Our focus is now finding her and bringing her home.”
The 16-year-old has been missing since Sunday, when investigators believe DiMaggio, a close family friend, burned his house down, after killing Hannah’s mother, Christina Anderson, 44, and Ethan.
The mother was positively identified almost immediately, but establishing that the boy’s remains were Ethan’s took several days.
And Amber alert has been active since then, spreading into four states. Law enforcement officials recovered a blue Nissan Versa Friday that they confirmed to be DiMaggio’s, though its plates had been removed.
Friends and classmates of Hannah’s not only gathered to maintain a vigil for her, but also to share their favorite memories. They said she is a kind and caring person who is always willing to help others.
“She always helped me out on stuff,” said classmate Jake Bush, who said Hannah was in his geometry class last year and assisted him when he didn’t understand the material.
“She’s a good girl and she doesn’t deserve this,” added Marissa Chavez, another close friend.
The family has expressed shock and confusion over why DiMaggio would harm their family. Investigators say they believe DiMaggio, who is said to be an avid outdoorsman, planned the events that led to Hannah’s disappearance. He recently shopped for tents and backpacks.
Willis delivered a special message to children and teenagers at the vigil because of revelations that Hannah confided in some friends that DiMaggio – described as a close uncle figure to the teen – began to “make her feel uncomfortable and creeped out.”
“When someone tells you something confidential, tell someone; don’t be afraid,” she said. “If you know something is wrong; tell somebody.”
Friends and family emphasized the power of prayer in bringing Hannah home safely.
“Christina’s looking down on [Hannah], telling her to continue to fight and return home safely,” Willis said.
A support fund has been set up for the Anderson family at wepay.com, under San Diego Anderson Family Support Fund. In addition Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, the Boll Weevil restaurant, 9471 Winter Greens Blvd., in Lakeside will give 20 percent of the day’s proceeds to the family fund.