Boy in Center of Alabama Hostage Standoff Released, Abductor Dead

A 5-year-old boy held captive for seven days in an underground bunker in southern Alabama is alive and his kidnapper, Jimmy Lee Dykes, is dead, FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Richardson said at a press briefing on Monday afternoon.

“Within the past 24 hours negotiations deteriorated and Mr. Dykes was observed holding a gun,” Richardson, of the Mobile, Ala., office, said in a brief statement. “At this point, FBI agents, fearing the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child.”

The child, Ethan, was recovered at 3:12 p.m. CT and appears physically unharmed, Richardson said. He is being treated at a local hospital. The Dothan Eagle newspaper reported hearing two loud bangs from the scene shortly before 3:30 p.m. According to the report, an ambulance then drove up the private dirt road where Dykes’ homes is located and then left a short time later.

Dykes, described by his neighbors as a paranoid survivalist, grabbed the boy from a school bus in Midland City, Ala., just after 3:30 p.m. CT last Tuesday - almost a 7 day affair. On Tuesday, Dykes boarded the bus and demanded that the bus driver, Charles Poland, 66, turn over two young children. When Poland refused, Dykes then fatally shot him and took the boy.