A 5-year-old boy was found safe on Monday after law enforcement agents stormed an underground bunker in southern Alabama. The boy’s kidnapper was killed. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.
Following a daring rescue, a 5-year-old boy held captive for seven days in an underground bunker in southern Alabama is alive and his kidnapper, Jimmy Lee Dykes, is dead, the FBI said Monday afternoon.
“Within the past 24 hours negotiations deteriorated and Mr. Dykes was observed holding a gun,” Special Agent in Charge Stephen Richardson, of the Mobile, Ala., office, said at a press briefing Monday. “At this point, FBI agents, fearing the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child.”
The child was recovered at 3:12 p.m. CT and appears physically unharmed, Richardson said. He is being treated at a local hospital.
The Dothan Eagle newspaper reported that two loud blasts came from the scene shortly before 3:30 p.m. According to the report, an ambulance then drove up the private dirt road where Dykes’ homes is located and then left a short time later.
The blast apparently came from a “diversionary device,” an FBI source confirmed to NBC News. FBI officers then went through a door at the top of the bunker.
Dykes — described by his neighbors as a paranoid survivalist — grabbed the boy from a school bus in Midland City, Ala., just after 3:30 p.m. CT last Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Dykes boarded the bus and demanded that the bus driver, Charles Poland, 66, turn over two young children. When Poland refused, Dykes then fatally shot him and took the boy identified by only his first name, Ethan.
Dykes, a decorated Vietnam veteran, then took Ethan to an underground bunker that neighbors had seen him digging. The bunker is believed to be roughly 8 feet by 6 feet and to be stocked with supplies. The bunker has a ventilation pipe that authorities used to deliver items. Authorities have not said how long they believe Dykes could have lasted underground, or discussed a motive for the kidnapping.
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