Alabama Standoff Update: Boy, 5, Safe, Kidnapper Dead, in Raid on Ala. Bunker, FBI Says
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. - Officials say they stormed a bunker in Alabama and rescued a 5-year-old boy being held hostage there after his abductor was seen with a gun.
Steve Richardson with the FBI's office in Mobile said at a news conference Monday afternoon that negotiations deteriorated with 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, and officers believed the child was in imminent danger.
Officers entered the bunker just after 3 p.m. CST.
Earlier, a U.S. official told CBS News that the nearly week-long hostage standoff had ended in the kidnapper's death. Authorities did not disclose details of how Dykes died.
Authorities said Dykes gunned down school bus driver Charles Poland Jr., 66, before taking his hostage. Poland was buried Sunday.
(CBS News) The Alabama hostage drama is now in its seventh day. The 5-year-old boy held captive underground by Jimmy Lee Dykes remains underground and could spend his birthday as a hostage. The boy, identified only as Ethan, turns six on Wednesday.
Police tell CBS News they still have an open line of communication with the Dykes, but almost a full week into this standoff, very little has changed.
Details about communications with the suspect Dykes, remain scarce. Dykes did allow police to lower crackers and a red hot wheels car into the underground bunker for his hostage.
Cindy Steiner, a friend of Ethan's family, told CBS News he has autism. She said, "He's crying, he wants his momma, he's never really been away from her."
Police said Dykes appears to be caring for Ethan. Sheriff Wally Olson said in a recent press conference, "Thank you for taking care of our child."
Neighbors remember Dykes for his anti-government rants. CBS News has learned Dykes is a decorated veteran. He served in the Navy in the late 1960s, based in Japan and California and received awards for good conduct.
CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, a former FBI assistant director, who has been involved in other hostage and standoff situations, said there are some good signs in this situation. He said Dykes' caring for the boy is a sign of bonding. "You can see that when Dykes asks for coloring books, crayons. He allows medication to come in," he said. "He's trying to provide for this boy, so as time goes on, that bond should increase.
For John Miller's full analysis, watch the video in the player below.
Miller said the situation with Dykes may be controlled to some extent by negotiators, but depends largely on Dykes' own rollercoaster or emotions. Miller explained, "One would argue this might not be a stable person, so they have to manage that in that conversation and sometimes they may want to do a controlled probe to stir things up if there's no conversation, but otherwise they may want to talk him down if he's getting excited. But they want to keep that even if they can."