Kidnapped when she was three years old, Sue began her writing career as a means of escape from the emotional scars and repetitive nightmares from her childhood. She wrote her first poem at nine years old, after the death of her mother.
As an investigative reporter in college, she earned a journalism scholarship, then she went on to write her first book, Bitter Memories: A Memoir of Heartache and Survival, the story about her life after the kidnapping, two sequels to Bitter Memories, plus several other books.
Today she lives in Nevada with her husband, two dogs, a cat and a bird. She enjoys the outdoors, reading and writing.
You can find all of her books on her website: http://sj2448.wix.com/suejulsen
SD: Your book, Zip Ties and Lies: The Anderson/DiMaggio Case: Coldhearted-Coldblooded is based on a real murder case that took place in California. Why did you choose to write a book about this case?
SJ: When this high-profile case hit the news, a two-story home was on fire and a woman’s body was found inside the detached garage at the residence. Hearing that a bloody crowbar was found next to her body, and being a true crime author, this immediately caught my attention. Then an Amber Alert went out claiming that the homeowner had rigged his home to burn and had kidnapped the dead woman’s two kids. Again this really caught my attention because I was kidnapped when I was a kid.
As more details emerged, I was hit with numerous red flags and had doubts about what the news was reporting and thoughts that the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, led by Sheriff Bill Gore, had only assumed, without proof, what have happened. Then, when Hannah Anderson, the daughter of the dead woman, was found and “rescued” and her alleged kidnapper was shot and killed, the stories being told didn’t add up. Doubting whether Hannah Anderson had been kidnapped at all led me to continue digging deeper for the truth.
SD: Does the title, Zip Ties and Lies, signify anything?
SJ: Yes, it does. Hannah Anderson telling multiple stories, then changing those stories every time she opened her mouth, gave me the “lies” part of the title. In one of Hannah’s made-to-order stories she said that before DiMaggio kidnapped her, he had zip-tied her and sat her down on the couch. Her mother’s feet had also been zip-tied as she was beaten to death. Hannah’s grandmother, Sara Britt, had posted on Pinterest a clip about “How to Escape Zip Ties,” and shared this post with Hannah. Combine it all together and you get Zip Ties and Lies.
SD: How did you go about researching this book?
SJ: Originally I had a trip scheduled to fly to San Diego, but that didn’t happen because a vindictive person posted my complete itinerary on the Internet. This made it unsafe for me to make the trip and left me with these options: to find out all I could on the Internet, on the news channels, watching numerous social sites of the parties involved, making phone calls and sending emails to concerned parties. Every possible avenue open to me, I pursued.
SD: How did you get some of the information that you did?
SJ: Again, checking social media sites, news articles, talking to anyone willing to talk about the case and share what they knew with me. Some of it came from anonymous sources, people wanting the information told, but not wanting to “get involved” personally.
SD: What concrete facts did you discover through your research about the murders?
SJ: The facts are too numerous to list, so you’ll have to read the book. However, with every step forward, I came away with many more questions, apparent cover-ups and screw-ups by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and of course plenty of speculation to go along with all the facts.
SD: Many people have followed this case and they said that there were several things that did not make sense. After doing extensive research do you think that you are qualified to shed some light on some of the things that did not add up?
SJ: Many people are still following this case simply because those “things” still do not make sense, and because the truth has not been told.
My research began on August 4, 2013 and continued for eight-and-a-half months. If I didn’t feel qualified, I never would have published the book. So, yes, I am qualified. I not only provided details and facts, but also speculation and various scenarios from numerous sources. I want people to think about the information provided, then make up their own minds about what could have happened in Boulevard, California and in Idaho.
SD: Some people believe that James knew something about the murders of Christine and Ethan Anderson because he did kidnap Hannah Anderson. And then you have others who believe that he did not murder Christine and Ethan Anderson. How would you respond to both sides?
SJ: Zip Ties and Lies is highly controversial. For both sides I’d have to say, read the book, study the facts, study the gruesome autopsy reports, count the numerous lies and inconsistencies of Hannah Anderson’s multiple stories, look at all the ways the sheriff’s department failed the tax payers by its incompetence and prejudgments, then make up your own mind. I believe Zip Ties and Lies provides the information needed for every person to do that.
SD: You say it was a “coldblooded” murder of James DiMaggio by the FBI firing squad. Why do you believe this?
SJ: Partly because of Sheriff “Rush to Judgment” Gore putting his own preconceived ideas into the minds of the FBI and their sharpshooters. Partly because, from what was told, the FBI never gave DiMaggio a chance to surrender.
In the U.S., negotiators often work closely with family members, but they never brought DiMaggio’s only sister to Idaho to talk him down. Instead, they sent in two hostage rescue teams, but no negotiators. Their own motto is “resolution through dialogue” but there was no mention of any dialogue: not from the FBI, or from any of Hannah Anderson’s own stories of what happened in Idaho on August 10, 2013.
If the FBI were not acting as a firing squad, and if they truly believed it was a hostage situation, where were the hostage negotiators?
SD: Why do you think the public questioned Hannah and Brett Anderson’s innocence?
SJ: Without giving away too much from the book, mainly because of Hannah and Brett Anderson’s actions, and showing no sadness or grief at all. Also Brett Anderson hired a publicist BEFORE Hannah was even found in Idaho, talking a movie and book deal to profit from the brutal murders of his wife and son. Many people still question what actually happened at DiMaggio’s residence on August 3, 2013 and just how involved Hannah and Brett were in Tina and Ethan Anderson’s heinous murders.
To learn the numerous reasons, with a multitude of quotes from the public on this issue, read the book.
SD: You were recently interviewed by a reporter from Channel 10 News, San Diego about Zip Ties and Lies: The Anderson/DiMaggio Case: Coldhearted-Coldblooded. How did they get in touch with you?
SJ: They contacted me through information in my book announcement press release.
SD: Since the book’s publication what have the responses been like?
SJ: It’s been very positive. Many readers have contacted me, thanking me for writing the book in such depth and commenting on several bits of “enlightening” information I discovered during my research that the public never knew about.
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