Child freed, kidnapper dead, in Alabama bunker drama
WASHINGTON – A 5-year-old boy held hostage in an underground Alabama bunker for almost a week was rescued Monday in a raid that left the kidnapper dead, authorities said.
The boy, who has been identified only as Ethan, was rushed to safety and is “doing fine,” an FBI agent told reporters in Midland City, Alabama.
Agents said they feared the boy was in “imminent danger” after seeing the kidnapper, retired trucker Jimmy Lee Dykes, holding a gun.
Negotiations with the gunman deteriorated, according to FBI Special Agent Stephen Richardson. So agents were ordered to storm the bunker at 3:12 p.m. Central time.
“The subject is deceased,” Richardson said of Dykes. The agent declined to provide details at a brief news conference.
Residents described hearing an explosion and shots.
Police have said Dykes, aged 65, shot bus driver Charles Albert Poland to death last Tuesday, when he tried to block the gunman, and then abducted the boy and held him in a bunker for six days.
“It got really tough to negotiate with him,” Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson told reporters after the rescue in which Dykes died.
The boy was reunited with his mother at a hospital in nearby Dothan, Alabama. “He’s laughing, joking, playing, eating — the things you’d expect of a 5- or 6-year-old,” Richardson added.
Dykes had been known to stay in his underground bunker for up to eight days, neighbors, who have evacuated the area, told ABC News earlier.