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Tampa area builder offers reward in California manhunt

Published:   |   Updated: August 9, 2013 at 10:35 PM

A Tampa area home builder, moved by a story about an old friend, is offering a $1,000 reward for the capture of a man suspected of killing two people in California and kidnapping a teenage girl.

Authorities found the body of 42-year-old Christina Anderson on Sunday, when they extinguished flames at the rural Southern California home of a family friend named James Lee DiMaggio. A child’s body was found as they sifted through rubble in Boulevard, a tiny town 65 miles east of San Diego on the Mexico border.

The child’s body has not been identified, but it may be Anderson’s 8-year-old son, Ethan, sheriff’s Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said late Tuesday. Authorities said they believe DiMaggio kidnapped Anderson’s daughter, Hannah, 16. An Amber Alert was issued for both children, spawning a massive hunt for DiMaggio. The alert now includes the states of Washington and Oregon after two possible sightings.

Anderson is the niece of Dave Braun, a well-known advocate for veterans in the Tampa area.

Jim Lee, who owns Sabal Homes, said he was moved to offer the reward after reading a story in The Tampa Tribune because, “Dave is an old friend and a great guy.

“I think very highly of Dave,” said Lee, an Air Force veteran who worked with the CIA and National Security Agency and is the father of state Sen. Tom Lee. “I have known Dave for years and years. I have seven grandkids, Oh, my God, what the man must be going through,”

Lee said he is offering the reward “to anyone who has information leading to the arrest of the person who did this. I am doing this in the hopes that it will be increased by other people who say, ‘You know what, I want to give.’ ”

Braun, co-chairman of the Hillsborough County Veterans Memorial Park and Museum Committee and active on many other veterans boards and commissions, said he is “deeply touched” by Lee’s reward offer.

“He’s a great man,” Braun said. “I really appreciate it.”

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