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FBI: Alabama Man Engaged In Firefight With Officers

The FBI says the Alabama man who held a 5-year-old boy captive in an underground bunker for nearly a week engaged in a "firefight" with SWAT agents before he was killed during a rescue operation.

Special Agent Jason Pack said in an email that it also appears 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes "reinforced the bunker against any attempted entry by law enforcement."

Pack said bomb technicians found two explosive devices Tuesday on the property. He said one was inside the bunker, the other was located inside the plastic pipe through which he had been talking with negotiators

Officers killed Dykes on Monday, six days after he boarded a school bus, fatally shot the driver and abducted the young boy.

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The mother of a five-year-old boy who was held hostage for nearly a week in an Alabama underground bunker released a statement today.

The boy, only known as Ethan, is back home after being rescued by FBI agents Monday afternoon.

The mother, who wants to remain anonymous, released the following statement:

"For the first time in almost a week, I woke up this morning to the most beautiful sight ... my sweet boy. I can't describe how incredible it is to hold him again.

Ethan is safe and back in my arms -- and I owe it all to some of the most compassionate people on Earth. I will never be able to repay those who helped bring Ethan home -- Sheriff Wally Olson and his team, District Attorney of Dale and Geneva counties, Kirke Adams, and his Victims Services officer, Amarylis Benefield; Wiregrass Angel House's Shelly Linderman; all law enforcement agencies including the FBI and its Victims Specialist Helen Smith, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and other divisions of the Alabama Department of Public Safety and Houston County Sheriff's Office; Sanctuary of Praise and its staff; Destiny Church and its staff and congregation; and Pastor Jim Hill of Ridgecrest Baptist Church of Ozark.

And then there are our friends and neighbors who showered us with love and prayers during this weeklong ordeal and those who have provided food and other necessities for the many officers who worked tirelessly to bring an end to this situation.

My family and I ask that you respect our privacy and give us a little time -- time to heal, time to put this nightmare behind us, time to move forward."


Previous Story

Relatives of the 5-year-old boy freed when federal agents raided the underground bunker of a hostage-taker in Alabama say the youngster is relieved to be home and appears to be doing well.

The boy's great uncle, Berlin Enfinger, said in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America early Tuesday that "he's happy to be home, and he looks good."

After nearly a week, FBI agents determined that talks with Jimmy Lee Dykes were breaking down and they stormed the bunker and rescued the child Monday. The 65-year-old armed captor was killed by law enforcement officials, an official told The Associated Press.

Dykes was accused of fatally shooting a school bus driver Jan. 29 before seizing the child from among a busload of students and taking him to the bunker.


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An FBI agent says they boy freed from his captor in an underground bunker in Alabama is in the hospital laughing, joking, eating and "doing the things you'd expect a normal 5- or 6-year-old to do."

Law enforcement officers stormed the bunker in Midland City Monday afternoon when they determined that the child was in imminent danger.

He had been held by 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes since last Tuesday, when Dykes shot to death a bus driver and snatched the boy off the bus. Police killed Dykes during the rescue.


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MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) -- Authorities stormed an underground bunker Monday in Alabama, freeing a 5-year-old boy and leaving his increasingly agitated captor dead after a week of fruitless negotiations that left authorities convinced the child was in imminent danger.

Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, had taken the child off a school bus after fatally shooting the driver. He was known by neighbors for his anti-government rants and for patrolling his property with a gun, ready to shoot trespassers. He had stayed for several days in the tiny bunker before.

"He always said he'd never be taken alive. I knew he'd never come out of there," said an acquaintance, Roger Arnold.

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. It was not immediately clear how authorities determined the man had a gun, or exactly how Dykes died.

Late Monday, officers were sweeping the property to make sure Dykes had not set up any bombs that could detonate. Full details of the bunker raid had not yet emerged. However, neighbors described hearing what sounded like gunshots around the time officials said they entered the shelter.

Michael Senn, pastor of a church near where reporters had been camped out since the standoff began, said he was relieved the child had been taken to safety. However, he also recalled the bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., who had been hailed as a hero for protecting nearly two dozen other children on the bus before being shot by Dykes.

"As we rejoice tonight for (the boy) and his family, we still have a great emptiness in our community because a great man was lost in this whole ordeal," Senn said.

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.

Melissa Knighton, city clerk in Midland City, said a woman had been praying in the town center Monday afternoon. Not long after, the mayor called with news that Dykes was dead and that the boy was safe.

"She must have had a direct line to God because shortly after she left, they heard the news," Knighton said.

Neighbors described Dykes as a menacing, unpredictable man who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe. Government records indicate he served in the Navy from 1964 to 1969, earning several awards, including the Vietnam Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

He had some scrapes with the law in Florida, including a 1995 arrest for improper exhibition of a weapon. The misdemeanor was dismissed. He also was arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.

He returned to Alabama about two years ago, moving onto the rural tract about 100 yards from his nearest neighbors.

Arnold recalled that, for a time, Dykes lived in his pickup truck in the parking lot of the apartment complex where Dykes' sister lived. He would stay warm by building a fire in a can on the floorboard and kept boxes of letters he wrote to the president and the unspecified head of the mafia, Arnold said.

Dykes believed the government had control of many things, including a dog track he frequented in the Florida Panhandle. Arnold said that Dykes believed if a dog was getting too far ahead and wasn't supposed to win, the government would shock it.

Ronda Wilbur, a neighbor of Dykes who said the man beat her dog to death last year with a pipe, said she was relieved to be done with the stress of knowing Dykes was patrolling his yard and willing to shoot at anyone or anything that trespassed.

"The nightmare is over," she said. "It's been a long couple of years of having constant stress."


Previous Story

The FBI says their agents rescued a child who had been held for nearly a week in an underground shelter in Alabama. They say the abductor, Jimmy Dykes, is dead.

At a news conference late this afternoon, the FBI says within the past 24 hours negotiations deteriorated and Dykes was seen holding a gun.

The FBI says at 4:12 p.m., fearing the boy's safety, they stormed the shelter, recovered the child and Dykes was dead. They have not said if the man shot himself or was killed by law enforcement gunfire.

The five-year-old, who was abducted from a school bus in Midland City a week ago, is currently at a Dothan hospital. Authorities say Dykes killed a school bus driver, 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr., before escaping with the kindergartener last Tuesday.

Before the news conference Monday, an ambulance that had been parked near the scene could be seen driving away. However, it was not clear if anyone was inside, and the vehicle did not have its sirens or emergency lights on.

Daryle Hendry, who lives about a quarter-mile from where Dykes was holed up, says he heard a boom followed by a gunshot this afternoon. It was not immediately known what may have caused the noise.


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