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August 7th, 2013
09:06 AM ET

Authorities Search for Family Friend in Connection to Amber Alert

The hunt continues this morning for a California man after the remains of a woman and a child were found in his burned out home near San Diego.

The suspect is on the run, possibly with a 16-year-old girl. Now the children's family is pleading for a safe return.

“Overnight, a vigil of hope for children allegedly kidnapped by James DiMaggio,” reports CNN’s Miguel Marquez.

The children’s' father Brett Anderson made an emotional appeal speaking directly to DiMaggio following the vigil.

“Jim, I can't fathom what you were thinking. The damage is done,” Anderson said. ”I'm begging you to let my daughter go, you've taken everything else.”

Investigators believe DiMaggio killed Anderson's ex-wife and possibly his 8-year-old son, then kidnapped his 16-year-old daughter, Hannah.

“Hanna we all love you very much,” Anderson said, addressing his daughter. “If you have a chance, you take it. You run. You'll be found.” 

The case led to California's first statewide Amber Alert over cellphones late Monday night, with “road signs calling motorists' attention to the nationwide alert, investigators anxious to catch a break,” Marquez says.

Investigators are now updating pictures of the kids and the alleged kidnapper, “even a mockup of a bald James DiMaggio,just in case he's shaved his head to disguise his appearance.”

“Authorities are still analyzing the remains of a child found in the burned out home,” “Early Start” anchor John Berman reports.

“They won't say if it was 8-year-old Ethan Anderson, but his father did not mention the boy, when he called on DiMaggio to set his daughter free.”

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Filed under: Amber alert • Manhunt • Missing children
May 9th, 2013
08:21 AM ET

Finally free; the kidnapped woman are now home safe – Zoraida Sambolin reports.

Finally free and home safe; families welcome home the kidnapped women. Zoraida Sambolin covers the story.

May 8th, 2013
07:47 AM ET

Ohio women return home to families; details begin to emerge about escape from captivity- Martin Savidge reports


The first time most of America heard Amanda Berry's voice was on a frantic 911 call.

"I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years," the 27-year-old woman said on the call, which was made on Monday. "And I'm here. I'm free now."

A day later, Berry could be heard again. This time talking to relatives, she seemed positive, even upbeat - telling her grandmother Fern Gentry in Tennessee that she's "fine" and that the 6-year-old girl also rescued Monday from a Cleveland home is indeed her own.

"I love you honey, thank God," her tearful grandmother said, in a call recorded by CNN affiliate WJHL. "... I've thought about you all this time. I never forgot about you."

READ MORE: Women reunite with families; details begin to emerge

April 9th, 2013
07:11 AM ET

Search for U.S. couple, their missing sons focuses on Cuba – Victor Blackwell reports


(CNN) - The search for a U.S. man who allegedly abducted his two young sons last week focused Monday on Cuba, with a Florida sheriff's department saying it had received information that the man, his wife and sons had arrived in the island nation, possibly by sailboat.

A State Department official in Washington told CNN that the U.S. Interest Section in Havana "is aware of this case and is in contact with local authorities to get more information." The official would not comment further, citing "privacy considerations."

Authorities believe the father, Joshua Michael Hakken of Louisiana, abducted his sons Chase Hakken, 2, and Cole Hakken, 4, early Wednesday after breaking into the Florida home of the children's grandmother and tying her up.

In Havana, Lynn Roche, an official with the U.S. Interest Section, said section officials couldn't discuss any case of an American who hasn't signed a privacy act waiver.

This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Victor Blackwell shares latest details on the search for the Hakken boys.

READ MORE: Search for U.S. couple, their missing sons focuses on Cuba

Filed under: Missing children
April 8th, 2013
06:04 AM ET

Official: Approx. 75 rescuers actively working in NC in search for two kids missing in wall collapse


(CNN) - Despite hours of feverish digging, their bare hands clawing at the dirt, rescue workers could not help free two young children who were buried underground when a wall of dirt collapsed on top of them at a North Carolina home construction site.

By early Monday morning, officials had determined it was too late for the trapped 6-year-old girl and the 7-year-old boy. Deprived of oxygen, it was unlikely they were still alive.

And so, the frantic search and rescue effort, which began shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, is now a recovery one.

This morning on "Early Start," Lincoln County Emergency Management PIO Dion Burleson shares the latest details on the search and recovery efforts.

READ MORE: Rescuers try to save two children buried at construction site – but it's too late

Filed under: Missing children • Recovery
January 31st, 2013
07:07 AM ET

Gunman holds 6-year-old boy in underground bunker for third day in standoff – George Howell reports

It is day three now of a tense standoff in Alabama, where a gunman is holding a six-year-old boy hostage in an underground bunker. Police say the boy was dragged off a school bus Tuesday afternoon in Midland City after the gunman shot and killed the school bus driver.

Authorities are communicating with the suspect through a PVC tube. They've also sent down prescription medicine, crayons and coloring books for the six-year-old hostage. School officials are calling the driver a hero. They say Charles Poland Jr.’s quick thinking saved the lives of 21 children. CNN’s George Howell is live in Midland City with the latest.

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Filed under: Crime • Hostage • Missing children
July 18th, 2012
11:08 AM ET

Mom Misty Morrissey says missing IA girls possibly taken, talks about her 'desperation' in search

Misty Morrissey, mother of missing girl Lyric Cook, on the latest in the search for Lyric and her cousin.

Filed under: Missing children
April 20th, 2012
07:22 AM ET

Will clues be found in Etan Patz case? Retired police officer Lou Palumbo explains

Retired police officer Lou Palumbo on the likelihood of finding evidence 30 years after the Etan Patz case was opened.

Filed under: Crime • Missing children