Family friend says DiMaggio ‘clearly had a death wish’

Andrew Spanswick suspects the 40-year-old was following a script written 15 years before by his dad.


Burned Bodies Missing Children

James Lee DiMaggio and his sister vowed not to end up like their father, says a family friend.

ANDREW SPANSWICK — The Associated Press file

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

The man suspected of abducting a 16-year-old family friend after killing her mother and younger brother died in a shootout with FBI agents exactly 15 years after his father committed suicide.

Spanswick said he alerted authorities Friday when DiMaggio’s sister 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.

Spanswick said the siblings made a pact not to follow in their father’s footsteps.

“Her brother broke that trust and he never called her,” he said.

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 was arrested in 1988 after breaking into the home of his ex-girlfriend, carrying a sawed-off shotgun and handcuffs, Spanswick said. The former girlfriend wasn’t home, but DiMaggio held her 16-year daughter and her boyfriend at gunpoint. The girl escaped after asking to use the bathroom.

The elder DiMaggio later spent time in prison after pleading guilty to assault with a deadly weapon for a 1989 beating of two people with a baseball bat,

The Evening Tribune of San Diego described him as a 35-year-old transient, former car salesman and divorced father of two. He died in 1998.

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

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