ALABAMA STANDOFF OVER - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

ALABAMA STANDOFF OVER

Posted: Updated:

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) - Officials say they stormed a bunker in Alabama to rescue a 5-year-old child being held hostage there after his abductor was seen with a gun.
    
Steve Richardson with the FBI's office in Mobile said at a news conference Monday afternoon that negotiations deteriorated and that 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes had been seen with a gun.
    
At that, officers believed the child was in imminent danger. Officers entered the bunker just after 3 p.m. CST.
    
It was not immediately clear how Dykes died.

PREVIOUS STORY:

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) - A law enforcement official says a 5-year-old has been safely released after a weeklong standoff between police and the boy's abductor.
    
The law enforcement official briefed on the situation said Monday that Jim Dykes, the man who abducted the boy from a school bus after fatally shooting the bus driver, is dead. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the situation.
    
It was not immediately clear how Dykes died.
    
Earlier Monday, officials had said they had been sending food and medicine to Dykes and the boy in the bunker.
    
The boy has Asperger's syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

PREVIOUS STORY:

NBCNEWS.COM - A 5-year-old boy held captive for seven days in an underground bunker in southern Alabama is alive and his kidnapper is dead, a law enforcement official told NBC News on Monday afternoon.

Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 65-year-old man described by his neighbors as a paranoid survivalist, grabbed the boy from a school bus last Tuesday afternoon.

Dykes had boarded the bus and demanded that the bus driver, Charles Poland, 66, turn over two young children. When Poland refused, Dykes then fatally shot him and took the 5-year-old boy named Ethan.

Dykes, a decorated Vietnam veteran, then took Ethan to an underground bunker that neighbors had seen him digging. The bunker is believed to be roughly 8 by 6 feet and to be stocked with supplies. The bunker has a ventilation pipe that authorities have used to deliver items. Authorities have not said how long they believe Dykes can last underground, or discussed a motive for the kidnapping.

Over the last week, hostage negotiators delivered a red Hot Wheels car, Cheez-Its crackers and other food and medicine to the boy, who has a mild form of autism. The FBI said Sunday that the boy's captor "continues to make the environment as comfortable as possible for the child."

Authorities in Alabama said earlier Monday that they were "doing everything humanly possible" to rescue the boy held captive underground for almost a week.

Hostage negotiators have stayed in touch with Dykes, the man suspected of kidnapping the child off a school bus last week and holding him in a bunker. They have given few tactical details.

"He feels like he has a story that's important to him," Sheriff Wally Olson of Dale County told reporters. "Although it's very complex, we're trying to make a safe environment."

Published reports have suggested Dykes wants to talk to a reporter.

Authorities say Dykes, a 65-year-old Vietnam veteran described by neighbors as a paranoid menace, kidnapped the boy, named Ethan, after shooting and killing the driver of the bus.

The negotiators had delivered a red Hot Wheels car, Cheez-Its crackers and other food and medicine to the boy, who has a mild form of autism. The FBI said Sunday that the boy's captor "continues to make the environment as comfortable as possible for the child."

The two spent a seventh day Monday in the bunker, believed to be roughly 8 by 6 feet and to be stocked with supplies. The bunker has a ventilation pipe that authorities have used to deliver items. Authorities have not said how long they believe Dykes can last underground, or discussed a motive for the kidnapping.

A federal law enforcement official told NBC News that authorities are flying surveillance aircraft over the site.

Jeffrey Gardere, a child psychologist, said that the boy "is most likely terrified."

"The overriding thought in his head is that he wants his mother, that he just wants to be out of that situation," he said.

The small town of Midland City has held vigils and offered prayers for the boy.

"I wish that I could just hug him and hold him and tell him it was going to be all right," said one neighbor, Sherri Johnson Parker.

The bus driver, Charles Poland, was laid to rest Sunday.

PREVIOUS STORY:

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) - Authorities say they will be making a major announcement in the case of a 5-year-old who is being held hostage in an underground bunker in Alabama.
    
The news conference will be held Monday afternoon in Midland City. Police say 65-year-old Jim Dykes has been holding the boy hostage for days.
    
Before the news conference Monday, an ambulance that had been parked near the scene could be seen driving away. However, it was not clear if anyone was inside, and the vehicle did not have its sirens or emergency lights on.
    
Daryle Hendry, who lives about a quarter-mile from where Dykes was holed up, says he heard a boom followed by a gunshot this afternoon. It was not immediately known what may have caused the noise.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) - Authorities say they still have an open line of communication with an Alabama man accused of abducting a 5-year-old boy and holding him hostage in a bunker.
    
Sheriff Wally Olson said Saturday that Jimmy Lee Dykes has told them that he has blankets and an electric heater in the bunker. Olson says Dykes has allowed authorities to deliver coloring books, medication and toys for the boy.
    
Olson says he wants to thank Dykes for taking care of the child and called that very important.
    
Authorities say Dykes shot a school bus driver Tuesday and took the boy to the bunker on his property in rural Midland City.
    
Olson would not say whether Dykes has made any demands. The sheriff says he is limited in the details he can release.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • VIRAL VIDEO: Dog passes out from overwhelming joy at owners return

    VIRAL VIDEO: Dog passes out from overwhelming joy at owners return

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:26:12 GMT
    KHQ.COM - A woman who left her dog in the care of friends while she moved away for two years, got an unexpected and heart melting reaction from her little schnauzer, Casey, when she returned. This video has gone viral since it was posted July 24th with over 17 million views as of July 28th.>>
    KHQ.COM - A woman who left her dog in the care of friends while she moved away for two years, got an unexpected and heart melting reaction from her little schnauzer, Casey, when she returned. This video has gone viral since it was posted July 24th with over 17 million views as of July 28th.>>