Alabama Hostage Standoff Ends; Kidnapped Child Is Safe

NPR | Feb. 4, 2013 8:47 p.m.

Contributed By:

Eyder Peralta

Posters for Ethan decorate power poles all over town, like this one outside the elementary school in Midland City, Ala.

Posters for Ethan decorate power poles all over town, like this one outside the elementary school in Midland City, Ala.

Butch Dill, AP

Nearly a week after it began, the standoff in Midland City, Ala., where a 5-year-old-boy has been held captive in an underground bunker, has come to an end.

Citing a U.S. official, CBS News reports the “kidnapped child is alive [and the] kidnapper is dead.”

CNN reports that an “explosion” was followed by “gun shots” shortly before the standoff came to an end.

State Rep. Steve Clouse said the boy is at a hospital seven or eight miles away from Midland City and he is “relatively healthy.”

As we’ve reported, 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes took the boy hostage after allegedly killing a bus driver. Authorities had been talking to Dykes through a pipe since the hostage situation developed.

Reuters reports that authorities killed the gunman. However, Clouse said he did not know whether Dykes had killed himself or if police had killed him.

Update at 5:32 p.m. ET. Negotiations Deteriorated:

During a televised news conference, Stephen E. Richardson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Mobile, Ala. division, said that during the last 24 hours, negotiations deteriorated and Dykes “was observed holding a gun.”

That’s when authorities decided that the boy was in eminent danger, so they made a move to rescue the boy.

“The child appears physically unharmed,” Richardson said.

Ala. Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement that he was “thankful that the child who was abducted is now safe.”

He continued: “At the same time, we also want to remember the family and friends of the bus driver – Charles Poland, Junior. This man was a true hero who was willing to give up his life so others might live. We are all inspired by his courage and bravery.” [Copyright 2013 NPR]

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