Safety

UPDATE: Boy held in bunker rescued, abductor dead

Thomas McMahon
Posted on February 4, 2013
FBI agents and Dale County deputies secure the residence where a 5-year-old child was rescued after being held hostage for almost a week. Photo from FBI
FBI agents and Dale County deputies secure the residence where a 5-year-old child was rescued after being held hostage for almost a week. Photo from FBI

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. — Ending a nearly weeklong standoff with a man accused of killing a school bus driver and abducting a 5-year-old passenger, FBI agents entered the man's bunker on Monday afternoon and rescued the boy.

Suspect Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, is dead.

"Within the past 24 hours, negotiations deteriorated, and Mr. Dykes was observed holding a gun," Stephen E. Richardson, special agent in charge of the FBI's Mobile, Ala., division, said in a news conference. "At this point FBI agents, fearing the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child."

Richardson said that the boy appeared to be physically unharmed but was being treated at a local hospital.

Last Tuesday, Dykes allegedly boarded a school bus and demanded two children. School bus driver Charles Albert Poland Jr. refused the request. The New York Times reported that Poland opened the rear emergency exit and blocked Dykes as children escaped. Dykes allegedly shot Poland four times, killing him.

The suspect then took a 5-year-old kindergartner, later identified by the first name Ethan, and retreated to a bunker on his property.

Authorities had been communicating with Dykes through a PVC pipe that extended from the bunker. They had also delivered medication and comfort items to Ethan, apparently bringing some of them to the entrance at the top of the bunker.

Richardson didn't reveal further details about the rescue operation, nor did he disclose how Dykes died.

However, John Miller, a former assistant director for the FBI, told CBS News that agents set up a delivery to the bunker and then used a distraction (or "flash-bang") device, and then a small entry team "went in there, engaged Dykes, killed him and then rescued the boy, and this probably took seconds."

CBS News also reported that at some point in the standoff, the FBI had inserted a camera into the bunker, which enabled them to watch Dykes.

In a statement after the rescue, Dale County Schools Superintendent Donny Bynum exclaimed that “all of Charles Poland's children are home now!”

“Our God is so good, and we thank all of the prayer warriors in our community, state and world for their continued prayers,” Bynum said. “We thank Mr. Charles Poland for the ultimate sacrifice. When all the information from this tragic event is revealed, we will clearly see a mighty man of God.”

Related Topics: Alabama, school bus security

Thomas McMahon Executive Editor
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