Child Hostage Rescued From Underground Bunker

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 4 2013 5:16 PM

FBI Raid Rescues Kindergartner From Underground Bunker

A week-long hostage situation in Alabama came to an end this afternoon when the FBI rescued a five-year-old boy who was being held in an underground bunker by a Vietnam vet. Law enforcement officials on the ground say that the kidnapper, 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, was shot and killed when they raided the homemade hideout over fears that the boy was in danger. The Associated Press:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Steve Richardson with the FBI's office in Mobile said at a news conference Monday afternoon that negotiations had deteriorated with 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, a man neighbors described as an isolated loner. Dykes had been seen with a gun, and officers believed the boy was in imminent danger, Richardson said.
Officers stormed the bunker just after 3 p.m. CST to rescue the child, who was taken to a hospital in nearby Dothan. ... However, it was not immediately clear how Dykes died.

The whole thing began this past Tuesday when Dykes, a retired truck driver, boarded a stopped school bus and shot and killed the 66-year-old driver after he refused Dykes' demand for two boys between the ages of 6 and 8 years old, according to police. Dykes then grabbed the child and fled to his homemade bunker where he remained until today.

The boy reportedly has Asperger's syndrome and ADHD. During the past several days, Dykes had agreed to allow police to lower down the boy's medicine along with a handful of toys. While those actions were seen as promising signs for the child's safety, such hopes were apparently replaced with more pressing fears once communication with Dykes broke down earlier today. According to CBS News, police were able to keep an eye on what was happening in the bunker thanks to a hidden camera that they inserted into the bunker during negotiations.

As far as everyone knows, Dykes has no relation to the boy. As for a reason for Dykes' motivation, the best anyone's come up with so far is the fact that he was due in court last week to face a charge of menacing his neighbors with a gun as they drove by his house a few weeks ago.

This post was updated at 6:11 p.m. with additional information as it became available.


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