Missing children. An Amber Alert has been declared and a massive search is underway for a man suspected of killing a San Diego County woman and kidnapping her children. The alert has prompted authorities to send out a slew of emergency text messages to state residents.
Authorities say James Lee DiMaggio killed 44-year-old Christina Anderson in the rural community of Boulevard, near the Mexican border, and then set her home on fire. In the rubble of a detached garage, they found the body of a child. The child has not been identified. A dog was also killed.
Meanwhile, Anderson’s two children – 16-year-old Hannah and her 8-year-old brother Ethan – are missing.
The amber alert has triggered a series of text messages that started late last night and have continued through the morning. The messages are reaching residents up and down the state as part of a partnership between phone companies and the CHP.
DiMaggio is believed to be driving a blue Nissan Versa compact car, California license plate 6-W-C-U-9-8-6. KNBC
Obamajam. President Obama is headed to L.A. today to drop by “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Obama is expected to discuss his proposal to simplify the tax code for businesses and increase federal spending for infrastructure and community colleges. He’s also expected to leave some traffic headaches in his wake, especially in the Burbank area. The president is due to land at LAX around 3:30 this afternoon and will tape his interview in Burbank an hour later. Obama will spend the night in L.A. and travel to Camp Pendleton in San Diego County tomorrow. L.A. Daily News
Prison problems. State officials are looking into moving thousands of inmates to private prisons. It’s a last-ditch attempt to avoid releasing violent offenders to ease prison crowding. Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard says the state will take the step after the U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to delay a lower court order requiring California to free almost 10,000 inmates. Private prisons are expensive, but Beard says it’s a better option than putting the inmates on the street. Meanwhile, Beard says a mass hunger strike in the prison system is a power play by some of the state’s most dangerous gang leaders. He says most of the participants are under tremendous pressure to refuse meals. AP, L.A. Times
Venice mayhem. The D.A.’s office is expected to file murder and other charges this morning against the suspect in the Venice Beach boardwalk rampage. Thirty-eight-year-old Nathan Louis Campbell allegedly used his car to hit pedestrians on the walkway, killing an Italian honeymooner and injuring 16 people. L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin told KCRW’s Warren Olney that he’ll propose a measure today to erect barriers that prevent cars from driving onto the boardwalk. This isn’t Campbell first run-in with the law. He was arrested in 2008 for reckless driving in Florida and disturbing the peace in Denver. Campbell also has a history of drug and alcohol addiction. Which Way. L.A., L.A. Times
Icon makeover. Purists may cringe, but a renovated Chinese Theatre will enter the digital age next month when it reopens with a re-mastered 3-D Imax screening of the “Wizard of Oz.” The former Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is now called the TCL Chinese Theatre Imax. The Chinese electronics company paid $5 million for naming rights earlier this year and has poured more than $5 million into renovations. The remade Hollywood icon theater will feature a 900-seat auditorium with a screen that’s 46 feet high and 96 feet wide. It will be the biggest Imax theater in the world in terms of capacity. L.A. Times