Friday, February 01, 2013

Updated:Pray for 5yro 'Ethan' Being Held Hostage in AL By a 'Crazy Man' Who Killed School Bus Driver

This story has been capturing my attention, and much of the nations, all week since a deranged 'crazy man' boarded a school bus on Tuesday afternoon in Midland City, AL. He then shot and killed the bus driver after he tried to stop the man from taking two children hostage. The man demanded two kids at first, a six and eight year old. Why he requested those age groups and if he asked for a boy and girl is not known. He was able to take the little boy, Ethan, after he fainted and couldn't flee like the other children did while the 'crazy man' and the bus driver scuffled.

A candlelight vigil honors the memory of bus driver Charles Poland and pleads for the release of a five-year-old boy held hostage in a bunker by Poland's alleged killer

A candlelight vigil honors the memory of bus driver Charles Poland and pleads for the release of a five-year-old boy held hostage in a bunker by Poland's alleged killer

Update 2/8/13: First Video and Photos of Ethan

4pm MST: Police were not willing to answer questions at this time at the press conference. Hopefully we will find out how they were able to see into the bunker to determine if Dykes was holding the gun at the child or if he threatened to shoot the child, which prompted the FBI to enter the bunker. How they entered is not known, but there was a small explosion heard and then he heard gunshots according to a nearby neighbor. The neighbor said he heard at least four or five shots.

2/4/2013 3:15pm MST
CBS radio affiliate WSB says reporters heard what may have been a concussion grenade before ambulance and fire vehicles went to and from Dykes' property about 4p.m. Eastern Time Monday.Read more:
Ala. hostage situation ends, child safe, kidnapper dead--after an explosion heard 
DEVELOPING: A five-year-old boy who was being held hostage in an underground bunker in Alabama for nearly a week has been released, a law enforcement source, citing reports, told Fox News.
Authorities say 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes shot and killed a bus driver last week in Midland City and then abducted the boy. Read more 
Press Conference:
At approximately 3:12pm CST FBI agents entered the bunker after negotiations deteriorated after they saw Dykes holding a gun, putting Ethan in imminent danger. Dykes was killed and the child was safely recovered. Ethan has been taken to the hospital to determine his physical condition, though appears physically unharmed and will be reunited with his family.  Dykes is deceased, it is not known if he took his own life or if FBI officers shot and killed him.

BBC:Police in the US state of Alabama have killed a hostage-taker after a six-day standoff, saving the five-year-old boy he abducted.
FBI agent Steve Richardson told a news conference police shot Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, after negotiations deteriorated.
He had been keeping the boy, Ethan, in a storm shelter since last Tuesday after abducting him from a school bus and shooting dead the driver.
The 66-year-old bus driver's funeral was held on Sunday.
An ambulance was seen driving away, without sirens or emergency lights.
Daryle Hendry, who lives about a quarter of a mile from the bunker, told the Associated Press he heard a boom followed by a gunshot this afternoon.
Update 2/4/2013 
Why are we four days later just hearing that the deranged man who shot the school bus driver in AL and abducted a 5yr old boy wanted to release the boy in exchange for a reporter to tell his story??? Why wasn't this done?? Anyone would think exchanging the child for an adult would be a positive solution to this nightmare...what are they waiting for??

Fox Broadcast: Day 7 and still no sign of Jimmy Lee Dykes surrendering or allowing 5yro Ethan free. 
Authorities continue to keep any negotiations or demands quiet, despite earlier reports by MailOnline, that Dykes was willing to swap Ethan for a reporter to tell his story on the first day of the hostage situation, which began last Tuesday. 

In the meantime, his family and the community, as well as others around the country and the world continue to pray for a peaceful resolution and the safe return of little Ethan. Let's hope things end soon and Ethan is able to safely return to his family any minute. Check back for further updates.

Update 2/3/2013

Dykes has allowed "comfort items" to be delivered, such as potato chips and toys, the statement said.He also has agreed to allow authorities to send down prescription medicine the boy needs, Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson told reporters during a short briefing Saturday morning. 
The 5-year-old suffers from Asperger's syndrome and attention deficit disorder, said State. Rep. Steve Clouse.Dykes has told authorities he has blankets and a heater in the bunker, and authorities have previously said the bunker -- built 4-feet underground -- has electricity. 
It is unclear if Dykes has access to news reports about the standoff.The sheriff appeared during a morning news briefing to speak directly to Dykes: "I want to thank him for taking care of our boy. That's very important." 
As the standoff continued, preparations were underway for Sunday's funeral for the school bus driver, who has been described as a hero for his actions.
Update: 2/2/2013

The survivalist who allegedly shot a school bus driver before taking  a five-year-old boy hostage has said that he will release his hostage if a reporter is sent in to tell his story. 
MailOnline has learned that Jimmy Lee Dykes made the extraordinary offer on the first day of what has now turned into a siege situation with the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team on site, emergency services and a host of media focused on the piece of Alabama bluff under which Dykes and the boy, Ethan, are holed up. 
A source with the local sheriff's office has revealed that a CID Lieutenant spoke with Dykes for the first four hours of the hostage situation, communicating via a pipe sticking out from the ground – the only surface sign of the bunker’s location.In those first crucial hours, Vietnam veteran Dykes attempted to strike his bargain – the boy in return for a reporter to tell his story of ‘how the government had screwed him.’ 
According to the source, the bunker lies beneath what appears to be landscaped garden.  
There is a coi carp pond and a winding path before the ground rises to conceal two old freight containers buried beneath.
WSFA in AL reports: 
Dykes is said to be a Vietnam veteran who may suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. 
He now appears on the radar of the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC. The Montgomery-based SPLC tracks hate groups and underground organizations and says Dykes came to their attention after Tuesday's events because of anti-American beliefs they say he's shown. 
SPLC's Mark Potok said of Dykes' past that he was described as "very much standoffish and very much a loner". Dykes was virtually unknown to anyone outside his small town, until now. Potok said it wasn't clear if Dykes is connected to any anti-government group or radical group. "We just don't know," he said. 
Officials can't, or won't, confirm if Dykes' hostage situation is connected to his alleged anti-American beliefs.
The Daily Mail also reports:  
Neighbor Ronda Wilbur told ABCNews: 'I cannot even fathom the whys or anything like that. 'I know that he has totally and completely no regard for human life, or any sort of life.'I think that he was obviously been planning something for a long time. 'I had always figured he was more or less a wacko survivalist, but it's obvious that he had this very well thought out and arranged, and it explains as to why he did so much work in the dark.' 
The poor little boy, Ethan, is still being held by this 'crazy man'. I sure pray he is still safe and unharmed. Reports are that he's been crying for his parents since he was abducted three days ago by the nutcase who shot and killed the bus driver.

He has a history of violent behavior, paranoia and has threatened to shoot neighbors before just for going near his property or supposedly damaging a speed bump. We don't know why he is doing what he's doing other than him being a paranoid nutcase. He was expected to go to court on Wednesday because he was charged with 'menacing' neighbors when he threatened to shoot them....sadly in AL this was considered a misdemeanor and he was released on bail.

Someone like that should have raised a red flag and he should have been sent for a mental evaluation and kept in jail. Anytime someone threatens others with death or harm, especially with a weapon, they are no longer safe for society and should be taken seriously as a danger to the public!! This is one example of the failure of our legal system and the need to recognize those with mental illness, especially when they show signs of violent behavior, which he has!! He killed another neighbors dog before with a lead pipe! As we know, many serial killers and sociopaths start out killing animals before they move on to killing people. They become desensitized and devalue human life as they become empowered by the killing.

May God bless and protect little Ethan and comfort him as he longs for his family. I pray he is released today and not a minute more goes by!  My youngest son is his age and I can't imagine what he must be going through and how his parents are feeling. It just breaks my heart each day this hostage situation goes on. Why can't these nuts just leave innocent people alone!!?? Why can't they take their own lives or go into a bunker or whatever on their own rather than going on shooting sprees and taking anyone hostage!!?? It's so frustrating and upsetting, I imagine the police and everyone involved feel helpless trying to negotiate with a mentally unstable person.

I really hope he lets this little boy go before he causes more emotional harm and God forbid physical harm. It is reported that Ethan and has been crying for days for his family, but was given needed medicine and coloring books...I pray the nutcase is giving him the proper dosage of medicine and treating the little boy with kindness rather than anger and violence.  I hope he is being fed and able to use a restroom as well. We don't know anything about the accommodations other than he claims to have a television in the bunker and the suspect, Jimmy Lee Dykes, is getting sleep down there. I imagine little Ethan gets some sleep as well, but he is probably not sleeping well as he misses his family and fears for his life. How heart breaking....God please save this little boy!!

VIDEO: Audio of negotiator talking to child abductor in bunker

Below is video of a witness describing the school bus abduction:

More than three days after he allegedly shot dead a school bus driver, grabbed a 5-year-old child and slipped into an underground bunker in the rural U.S., Jimmy Lee Dykes was showing no signs Friday of turning himself over to police.

Hostage negotiators spoke into a narrow ventilation pipe leading into the bunker, trying to talk the 65-year-old, said to hold anti-government views, into freeing the boy. One local official said the child had been crying for his parents.

Dykes, described by neighbors as threatening and violent, is accused of pulling the boy at random from the bus Tuesday and killing the driver who tried to protect the 21 children aboard. The gunman and the boy were holed up in a small underground room on his property that authorities likened to a tornado shelter, not uncommon in the rural South.

A state lawmaker said the shelter has electricity, food and TV, and there were signs that the standoff along a dirt road could continue for some time.

"The three past days have not been easy on anybody," Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said late Thursday. He said authorities' primary goal was to get the boy home safely.

"There's no reason to believe the child has been harmed," Olson added.

James Arrington, police chief of the neighboring town of Pinckard, said the captor has been sleeping and told negotiators that he has spent long periods in the shelter before.

"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."

Midland City Mayor Virgil Skipper said he has visited the boy's parents.

"He's crying for his parents," Skipper said. "They are holding up good. They are praying and asking all of us to pray with them."

Lawmaker Steve Clouse said the boy's mother told him her child has Asperger's syndrome, an autism-like disorder, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Police have been delivering medication to him through the pipe, he said.

Activity around the bunker picked up early Friday when a team in military-style uniforms, many with weapons, got out of a van and moved into a staging area. One appeared to be dog handler.
Dykes was known in the neighborhood as a menacing figure who neighbors said once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and an assault rifle.

Arrington confirmed that Dykes held anti-government views, as described by multiple neighbors: "He's against the government -- starting with Obama on down."

"He doesn't like law enforcement or the government telling him what to do," the police chief said. "He's just a loner."

No motive has been discussed by investigators, but the police chief said the FBI had evidence suggesting it could be considered a hate crime. Federal authorities have not released any details about the standoff or the investigation.

Dykes had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to answer charges he shot at his neighbors in a dispute last month. Neighbor Claudia Davis said he yelled and fired shots at her, her son and her baby grandson over damage Dykes claimed their truck did to a makeshift speed bump in the dirt road. No one was hurt.

The son, James Davis Jr., believes Tuesday's shooting was connected to the court date. "I believe he thought I was going to be in court and he was going to get more charges than the menacing, which he deserved, and he had a bunch of stuff to hide and that's why he did it."

A neighbor directly across the street, Brock Parrish, said Dykes usually wore overalls and glasses, and his posture was hunched-over. He said Dykes lived in a small camping trailer and patrolled his lawn at night, walking from corner to corner with a flashlight and an assault rifle.

Court records showed Dykes was arrested in Florida in 1995 for improper exhibition of a weapon, but the misdemeanor was dismissed. The circumstances of the arrest were not detailed in his criminal record. He was also arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.
Read more

The suspect and child, who by all accounts did not know each other, then disappeared into an underground bunker on the man's property in southeastern Alabama that is said to be equipped with electricity and several weeks' worth of supplies.

The shooting and hostage-taking happened as a national debate rages over gun violence, especially in schools, after a gunman shot dead 20 students and six staff members at a Connecticut elementary school in December.

Law enforcement negotiators have continued to communicate with the man identified by neighbors as 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes. Officials said they believed the child was unharmed.
Michael Senn, a pastor who lives near the private dirt road that runs onto Dykes' property, told the Dothan Eagle newspaper that authorities had been able to maintain contact with Dykes through some sort of pipe, possibly made of PVC, leading into the bunker.

"They've been talking to him pretty regularly," Senn said.

Law enforcement officials have offered few details about the standoff and have not officially released the names of the suspect or the child.

But homemade signs seen around the town identify the boy as Ethan. A school official said his sixth birthday is next week.

Messages such as "Please release Ethan" and "Pray 4 Ethan" were tacked up outside the town hall, where a somber candlelight vigil on Thursday night drew about 100 people.


Hero: Murdered bus driver Charles Poland Jr, 66, was hailed as a hero for trying to stop the abduction of the children from his school bus. His wife said he loved all of the students he drove
Hero: Murdered bus driver Charles Poland Jr, 66, was hailed as a hero for trying to stop the abduction of the children from his school bus. His wife said he loved all of the students he drove

Police are still pleading with the 'survivalist killer' who kidnapped a five-year-old boy and has been holding him hostage in an underground bunker for four days as it emerged he may have enough supplies to last for months.

Jimmy Lee Dykes is accused of shooting a school bus driver dead and grabbing the kindergartner before escaping to an underground Doomsday bunker which he has been building by hand for months, neighbors said yesterday.
Police have settled in to Midland City, Alabama, for the long haul as they continue to negotiate with the 'survivalist' and plead with him to let five-year-old Ethan go without harm.

Though he is not believed to have hurt Ethan, Dykes has a violent reputation in the quiet town after he allegedly beat his neighbor's dog to death with a lead pipe and would threaten to shoot any child that would come on to his property.

Last night hundreds of people gathered in the city - which has a population of around 2,300 - to say prayers for the boy's safe return. 

He is said to be unhurt but crying for his parents. 

The crowd also honored Charles Poland, who was allegedly killed by Dykes as he tried to prevent the gunman from hurting any children when he stormed the 66-year-old's bus on Tuesday.
It was revealed today the bus driver was planning on giving Dykes a gift of marmalade and yard eggs the same day he was shot dead to thank him for smoothing out the sand and dirt on a part of the road on the bus route.

 Dykes has previously stayed in the bunker for eight days straight and police believe he has enough supplies stored inside to last him several months. 

The shelter is about four feet underground, with about six-by-eight feet of floor space
Police say the kindergartener, whose mother calls him 'Love Bug,' is unhurt and is watching TV in the bunker, which has electricity.

He asked for crayons and a coloring book, which Dykes allowed police to pass to him through a four-foot-wide, 60-feet-long PVC pipe that runs into the bunker.
Read more

ABC shares insight into the mental health of the young hostage, who is reported to have autism and ADHD.:
Dr. Nadine Kaslow, a family therapist and psychiatry professor at Emory University in Atlanta, said the boy's emotional troubles might make things even more difficult for him."They have less way to make sense of things," she said of children with Asperger's and ADHD. "He may be less able to even interact with the person who's holding him hostage than another child might be, and he's less able, for example, to imagine friends that might be there waiting for him, to remember the good things, positive times. Also, he may be more likely to be frightened and overwhelmed and confused by the situation." 

Video:Hostage standoff in Alabama-Mark Furmann discusses situation
Bus shooting suspect barricaded inside bunker;unclear if 6yro he took from bus is with him
Officials give update on hostage victim's mother
Hostage Crisis in Midland City Continues
Bus driver remembered as honest, quiet
Clouse: Gunman's bunker has food, electricity
Child hostage standoff enters third day

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