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Kidnapper dead, child safe in 7 day Alabama hostage standoff

By: AP
By: AP

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) -- Officers stormed an underground bunker in Alabama where a 5-year-old boy had been held hostage for nearly a week, rescuing the child and leaving the boy's abductor dead, officials said Monday.

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. Officials have said the child has Asperger's syndrome.

However, it was not immediately clear how Dykes died.

Melissa Nighton, the city clerk in Midland City, said a woman had been praying in the town center Monday afternoon. Not long after, the mayor called her with news that Dykes was dead and that the boy was safe.

"She must have had a direct line to God because shortly after she left, they heard the news," Nighton said.

Neighbors described Dykes as a man who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property, and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a firearm.

Government records and interviews with neighbors indicate that Dykes joined the Navy in Midland City, serving on active duty from 1964 to 1969. His record shows several awards, including the Vietnam Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. During his service, Dykes was trained in aviation maintenance.

He had some scrapes with the law in Florida, including a 1995 arrest for improper exhibition of a weapon. The misdemeanor was dismissed. He also was arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.

He returned to Alabama about two years ago, moving onto the rural tract about 100 yards from his nearest neighbors.

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MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) -- Officials say they stormed a bunker in Alabama to rescue a 5-year-old child 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 and that 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes had been seen with a gun.

At that, officers believed the child was in imminent danger. Officers entered the bunker just after 3 p.m. CST.

It was not immediately clear how Dykes died.

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MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) -- A law enforcement official says a 5-year-old has been safely released after a weeklong standoff between police and the boy's abductor.

The law enforcement official briefed on the situation said Monday that Jim Dykes, the man who abducted the boy from a school bus after fatally shooting the bus driver, is dead. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the situation.

It was not immediately clear how Dykes died.

Earlier Monday, officials had said they had been sending food and medicine to Dykes and the boy in the bunker.

The boy has Asperger's syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP & NBC) -- Authorities say they will be making a major announcement in the case of a 5-year-old who is being held hostage in an underground bunker in Alabama.

NBC's Pete Williams says a source told him the man was dead and the child is safe. A source says the child was taken away in an ambulance.

The news conference will be held Monday afternoon in Midland City. Police say 65-year-old Jim Dykes has been holding the boy hostage for days.

Before the news conference Monday, an ambulance that had been parked near the scene could be seen driving away. However, it was not clear if anyone was inside, and the vehicle did not have its sirens or emergency lights on.

NBC's Williams reported the reason why law enforcement acted when it did is because the mental condition of Dykes was quickly deteriorating.

Daryle Hendry, who lives about a quarter-mile from where Dykes was holed up, says he heard a boom followed by a gunshot this afternoon. It was not immediately known what may have caused the noise.


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