Finally good news on Monday: After seven days held hostage by a lone gunman in an underground bunker in Midland City, Ala., a 5-year-old boy has been saved. He has been taken to a local hospital for observation.
Eyewitnesses are saying they heard a large boom, like an explosion, accompanied by what sounded like gunfire. No other details are known as this time, including how the kidnapper died.
CNN is reporting that the boy, named Ethan, is in good condition and has been rescued from 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, who boarded a school bus last Tuesday, shot and killed the driver, then abducted the young boy. The other 20 children on the bus escaped to the safety of a nearby church.
Dykes held Ethan, who reportedly suffers from ADHD and Asperger's syndrome, in a small underground bunker. Luckily, law enforcement had been able to lower medication to him via a four-inch-wide ventilation pipe, through which they also communicated during the stand-off with the abductor.
If Dykes made any demands or gave any reasons for the kidnapping, authorities have not shared it with the public. The abductor killed the 66-year-old bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., when he tried to prevent him from taking any children. The shooter had reportedly demanded two children between the age of 6 and 8. Residents are now calling Poland a hero for protecting the children with his life.
According to Fox News, Ethan had constantly cried for his mom, and State Rep. Steve Clouse (R), who visited the family on Thursday, described Ethan's mother as holding on by a thread. The bunker where the child was held is reportedly about 4 feet below ground and 6-by-8 feet in size. Dykes' bunker reportedly had television, electricity and food for approximately three weeks.
Neighbors have described Dykes as a menacing character who yelled and shot at anyone he thought was trespassing or damaged his dirt speed bump. In fact, he was due in court on Wednesday for menacing charges.
Authorities are scheduled to give a news briefing any minute now. Check back for more details.
During a short Federal briefing, law enforcement revealed that the abducted child was rescued around 3:12 p.m. and his kidnapper killed. Negotiations had deteriorated over the past 24 hours and Dykes had allegedly had a gun in his possession when the FBI decided to act for they feared Ethan was "in imminent danger."
More details will be forthcoming at a later date, authorities promised.
Click below for my earlier reports: