Hannah Anderson's grandmother recounts the ordeal - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Hannah Anderson's grandmother recounts the ordeal

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(CBS 8) - The grandmother of Hannah Anderson, the Lakeside teen who made international headlines in 2013 for an Amber Alert and horrific family murders, faced the cameras at a journalism forum allowing high-profile San Diegans to air their thoughts on media coverage.

"We are all trying to move forward. I don't know how soon it will be closed," said Sara Britt.

She is Anderson's grandmother who tells how the teen and the family are coping since the kidnapping and the ordeal from last summer.

The grandmother says, "She has to move forward from that day on and follow her goals."

Britt also talked about the handling of the case and how they are moving forward.

"If it hadn't been for the media initially my granddaughter wouldn't be alive today," said Britt.

On Wednesday, San Diego's Society of Professional Journalists hosted its annual Report Card on the Media panel discussion at Point Loma Nazarene.

Panelists included, Laura Fink, one of former San Diego mayor Bob Filner's accusers; Rachel Laing, spokesperson for former mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher; North County Transit District's CEO Matthew Tucker; and Sara Britt, the grandmother of Hannah Anderson.

"It was terrifying, we are a pretty private family," said Britt.

During the search for the teen, San Diego County deputies believed family friend James DiMaggio, 40, killed Hannah's mother, Christina Anderson, 44, and her eight-year-old brother Ethan and then burned them inside his home in Boulevard.

Deputies believe he kidnapped Hannah and five days after the Amber Alert was issued found them in the backwoods in Idaho. DiMaggio was shot and killed by law enforcement and Hannah was safely returned to her family.

"We are trying to be strong for her, help her through. She has no mom to come home to everyday, so it will be rough," said Britt.

Wednesday's discussion marked seven months since the Amber Alert was issued, Britt says her family is moving forward but it is still painful.  

"I can say for my granddaughter and for myself, the reality didn't hit me until two-and-half months later," say Britt.

The fallout has brought up accusations Hannah did not grieve appropriately or she was having a relationship with DiMaggio and planned the killings.

"She was truly a victim and is a victim," said Britt.

She says her granddaughter talks to her about what happened and she believes her 100% and has no doubts about her.  Britt says she doesn't question Hannah but will have questions surrounding the tragedies. 

"As a family we are all here for her," said Britt.

Hannah is living with her father and she is in gymnastics and going to school in Lakeside. Her grandmother says she is earning a 4.0 grade point average at school and continuing to see a therapist.

DiMaggio's family has publicly said they believe Hannah Anderson is not a victim. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department closed the case and does not believe Anderson is a suspect in the case.

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