Ethan's Mom Thanks Rescuers

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The mother of the 5-year-old boy held hostage for a week in an underground bunker wrote a letter to thank the people who helped rescue her son.

Ethan was kidnapped January 29 by Jerry Lee Dykes after Dykes shot and killed a school bus driver. Dykes then held Ethan hostage in Midland City, Alabama.

After a weeklong standoff, the FBI stormed into the bunker Monday afternoon and rescued Ethan. Dykes was dead when they got there. An autopsy will be performed in Montgomery to determine how he died.

This afternoon, the FBI released a letter from Ethan's mom, who wants to remain anonymous.

"For the first time in almost a week, I woke up this morning to the most beautiful sight ... my sweet boy. I can't describe how incredible it is to hold him again.

Ethan is safe and back in my arms -- and I owe it all to some of the most compassionate people on Earth. I will never be able to repay those who helped bring Ethan home -- Sheriff Wally Olson and his team, District Attorney of Dale and Geneva counties, Kirke Adams, and his Victims Services officer, Amarylis Benefield; Wiregrass Angel House’s Shelly Linderman; all law enforcement agencies including the FBI and its Victims Specialist Helen Smith, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and other divisions of the Alabama Department of Public Safety and Houston County Sheriff’s Office; Sanctuary of Praise and its staff; Destiny Church and its staff and congregation; and Pastor Jim Hill of Ridgecrest Baptist Church of Ozark.

And then there are our friends and neighbors who showered us with love and prayers during this weeklong ordeal and those who have provided food and other necessities for the many officers who worked tirelessly to bring an end to this situation.

My family and I ask that you respect our privacy and give us a little time -- time to heal, time to put this nightmare behind us, time to move forward."

Ethan will turn 6 tomorrow. Midland City is planning a big party.

8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647
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