Alabama Hostage Stand-off Continues; Authorities Believe Boy Has Not Been Harmed

An army of FBI agents, local police and deputies, swat members and hostage negotiators continued to focus on a small patch of land, at the Midland City home of 65-year old Jimmy Lee Dykes.

It's the spot where Dykes is holding a soon to be 6-year old boy he allegedly kidnapped from a school bus Tuesday afternoon, in a 6-by-8 foot bunker, buried 4 feet underground.

Authorities have been able to communicate with Dykes and the child, who the neighbors are calling "Ethan", using a 60-foot long PC pipe.

The child has not spoken to his parents, but police say he's unharmed and has his medication.

“How is the family holding up of this young boy?" asked NewsChannel Seven’s Bergen Baucom.

"I think they're ok," answered Pinckard City Police Chief James Arrington.

Neighbors tell police they've know Dykes to spend at least 8 days at a time, living in the bunker.

"We've been told he has enough supplies to last a month, do you know how much is down there," asked Baucom.

"No I don't know what all is down there," answered Arrington.

"I spoke to one of the neighbors that lives across the street she said that she has seen that he does have a small propane heater that he has carried around to various locations on his property. As she stated, she hopes he carried that down there with him to keep the little child safe and warm," said Midway Assembly of God Pastor Micahel Senn.

So do the other residents of Midland City, and the nation, who've been watching this crisis play-out on national news programs.

"We are encouraging the community as well as the whole country, as a pastor, as a man of god to come together, as a nation to come together and pray for the safety of little Ethan."

As well as the family of 65-year old school bus driver Charles Poland, who Dykes allegedly shot and killed during Wednesday’s kidnapping.

"They're just really having a hard time with the loss- the unexpected loss of her husband and their daddy."

Authorities say Dykes apparently chose "Ethan" at random, and is not related to the child.


Update #4: 1-31-13
Neighbors: Suspect in Ala. standoff was violent
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) -- Jimmy Lee Dykes moved to a rural Alabama neighborhood on a rutted red clay road more than a year ago. It didn't take long before he had developed a frightening reputation as a volatile man with anti-government views who threatened his neighbors at gunpoint and was viciously violent to wandering pets.
Multiple neighbors said Dykes, a 65-year-old retired truck driver, is the man suspected of boarding a school bus near his home, killing the driver and taking a 5-year-old boy hostage in a standoff that entered its second full day Thursday.
Alabama State Trooper Charles Dysart told reporters late Wednesday that negotiations with the suspect were ongoing. Earlier Wednesday, Sheriff Wally Olson said that authorities had "no reason to believe that the child has been harmed."


Update # 3: 1-30-13
Lawmaker: Alabama child held in bunker got medicine
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) -- An Alabama legislator says a 6-year-old boy who is being held hostage has been able to receive medicine and watch TV.
State Rep. Steve Clouse said Wednesday he met with authorities and visited the family of the boy.
The boy's captor is accused of intercepting a school bus on his rural road Tuesday and fatally shooting the driver before taking the boy.
Clouse described the standoff as a "static situation" and "a waiting game."
Authorities told him that the bunker on the suspect's property has electricity, food and a TV.
Neighbors have identified the man who lives on the property as a paranoid and combative retired truck driver named Jimmy Lee Dykes.
Meanwhile, the pastor of a nearby church helped comfort children who were on a rural Alabama school bus when a gunman killed the driver and took a 6-year-old boy.
Pastor Michael Senn said Wednesday, a day after the shooting, that the kids were "pretty shocked, traumatized."
He says "they saw everything that happened. They saw the man shoot the driver."
Senn says children on the street had been warned to stay away from him. He says "they'd go fishing and walk by his place and he'd try to talk to them."


Update #2: 1-30-13
Man linked to Alabama standoff was facing court
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) -- The Alabama man whose property is surrounded by police after a school bus shooting had been due in court on a charge of threatening neighbors.
Investigators have not released the suspect's name. Neighbors said the rural property near Dothan at the heart of the standoff Wednesday belonged to Jimmy Lee Dykes, a man in his 60s.
Court records showed Dykes had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning to face a charge of menacing some neighbors as they drove by his house last month. The neighbors said he yelled and fired shots over damage he claimed their pickup truck did to a make-shift speed bump in the dirt road.
The standoff started Tuesday after a gunman boarded a stopped school bus, shot the driver and took a 6-year-old student.


MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) -- Authorities have converged on an Alabama community in a bid to resolve a standoff with a man authorities say fatally shot a bus driver and abducted a 6-year-old child passenger.
The Dale County Sheriff says the man shot the driver in Midland City on Tuesday afternoon after he refused to let the child off the bus. The unidentified driver later died of his wounds.
Authorities say the shooter took the child to an area behind a church and police are negotiating with him.
Police say early Wednesday that state troopers, a SWAT team and FBI agents had gathered nearby. The sheriff's office told The Associated Press it would not release immediate details.
Dothan police spokeswoman Rachel David said residents were evacuated from their homes as a precaution.

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