EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

National News

February 5, 2013

Authorities storm bunker, rescue boy

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — Authorities stormed an underground bunker Monday in Alabama, freeing a 5-year-old boy who had been held hostage for nearly a week in the tiny underground shelter and leaving the boy’s abductor dead.

After days of fruitless negotiations, talks had deteriorated with an increasingly agitated Jimmy Lee Dykes, who had kidnapped the child from a school bus after fatally shooting the driver.

Dykes had been seen with a gun, and officers concluded the boy was in imminent danger, said Steve Richardson of the FBI’s office in Mobile.

Officials refused to say how the 65-year-old died.

“Ever since this started, there’s never been a moment that (the boy) wasn’t on my mind,” said Michael Senn, pastor of a church near where reporters had been camped out since the standoff began. “So when I heard that he was OK, it was just like a thousand pounds lifted off of me.”

The rescue capped a long drama that drew national attention to this town of 2,400 people nestled amid peanut farms and cotton fields that has long relied on a strong Christian faith, a policy of “love thy neighbor” and the power of group prayer. The child’s plight prompted nightly candlelight vigils.

Throughout the ordeal, authorities had been speaking with Dykes though a plastic pipe that went into the shelter. They also sent food, medicine and other items into the bunker, which apparently had running water, heat and cable television, but no toilet. It was about 4 feet underground, with about 50 square feet of floor space.

Authorities said the kindergartner appeared unharmed. He was taken to a hospital in nearby Dothan. Officials have said he has Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

FBI bomb technicians were clearing the property for explosive devices and planned to look more closely at the scene when it’s safe, FBI spokesman Jason Pack said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
National News

NDN Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale CDC Addresses Lab Safety Problems Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Mass. Mayor: Families Lost Everything in Fire Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup'
Photos of the Week