Sunday, February 3, 2013

Alabama hostage crisis day 4: Confused 5-year-old hostage cries for his parents as stand-off continues in underground bunker by ‘loner’

Held hostage by an Alabama man inside an underground bunker since being snatched off a school bus at gunpoint, the 5-year-old kidnapping victim is said to be “crying for his parents.” The FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team has been negotiating with suspect Jimmy Lee Dykes for the boy’s release through a 60-foot PVC air tube.

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Midland City, Alabama rendering of the hostage standoff involving a 5-year-old being held hostage in a bunker.

FOX News

An artist's rendering of the underground bunker where Midland City resident Jimmy Lee Dyke has been holding a 5-year-old boy hostage since Tuesday afternoon.

Ethan, the 5-year-old boy held hostage for the past three days in a deranged Alabama man’s underground bunker, just wants to go home.

“He's crying for his parents,” Midland City Mayor Virgil Skipper said of the kindergartener who was pulled off a school bus on Tuesday afternoon by Jimmy Lee Dykes.

Dykes, 65, had boarded the bus carrying a shotgun and demanded that two boys, ages 6 and 8, come with him. Dykes shot and killed the driver of the bus, 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland, Jr., when he tried to intervene.
In the ensuing chaos, 20 of the 21 children were able to escape, but Dykes was able to grab Ethan and take him to a 6’-by-8’ underground room, similar to a tornado shelter, located on his property just outside of Midland City.

Many in the tiny town are at a loss as to why Dykes, who has been described by neighbors as a surly recluse, would do such a thing, including the victim himself.


AP Photo

Law enforcement officials continue to work the scene of an ongoing hostage crisis in Midland City, Ala. 

“He [Ethan] does not know what is going on,” Skipper told ABC News. “Let this kid go.”

Negotiators with the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team have been communicating with Dykes through a 60-foot PVC air pipe leading to the bunker. Ethan, police said, suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD, and, so far, they have been delivering his medication through the 4-inch wide air pipe.
Still, neither the FBI, nor local law enforcement have stated what possible motive the retired truck driver had for plucking Ethan off the bus and taking him captive.

“I cannot even fathom the whys or anything like that,” Ronda Wilbur, who lives just across a dirt road from Dykes told “I know that he has totally and completely no regard for human life, or any sort of life.”


AP Photo

Negotiators with the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team have been talking with Jimmy Lee Dykes through a 60-foot PVC air tube. 

Police say there is no reason to believe that Ethan has been harmed, a thought that gives his parents some small amount of comfort as the hours continue to pass.

“They are holding up good,” Skipper told reporters. “They are praying and asking all of us to pray with them.”

After meeting with Ethan’s family however, Rep. Steve Clouse, told that the boy’s mother was “hanging on by a thread.”


A disturbing picture has emerged of Dykes since the standoff began. Neighbors describe a hot-headed loner who would patrol his property at night with a flashlight and an assault rifle.


AP Photo

Local, state, and federal law enforcement have flooded the tiny town of Midland City, Ala. to try and rescue the 5-year-old kindergarten student from the bunker owned by Jimmy Lee Dykes. 

Dykes faced a court date on Wednesday on charges that the shot at a neighbor Claudia Davis, her son, and grandson after they damaged a makeshift speed bump set up by Dykes as they drove over it in their pickup truck.

Brock Parrish, who lives across the street from the suspect, said Dykes struck a hunched-over posture as he patrolled his property in overalls and glasses, and drove a run-down van with the windows covered in aluminium foil, reported.

“He's against the government — starting with Obama on down,” James Arrington, police chief of the neighboring town of Pinckard, told reporters.

“He doesn't like law enforcement or the government telling him what to do. He's just a loner.”

Police said Dykes’ bunker was stocked with food, water and a television.

“He will have to give up sooner or later because (authorities) are not leaving,” Arrington said. “It's pretty small, but he's been known to stay in there eight days.”

--With News Wire Services

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