Captor killed in firefight in Ala. bunker, FBI reveals
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. — The man who held a 5-year-old boy captive for nearly a week engaged in a firefight with SWAT agents storming his underground bunker before he was killed during the rescue operation, the FBI said on Tuesday night.
Bomb technicians scouring the property found two explosive devices, one in the bunker, the other in a plastic pipe negotiators used to communicate with the man.
Officers killed 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes on Monday, said a law enforcement official in Midland City, speaking on condition of anonymity. The bunker raid was executed six days after Dykes boarded a school bus, fatally shot the driver and abducted the boy, who by all accounts was unharmed.
Dykes “reinforced the bunker against any attempted entry by law enforcement,” FBI Special Agent Jason Pack said in an email. The devices found were “disrupted,” Pack said. Officers will continue into Wednesday to sweep the 100-acre property and, when they finish, investigators can work more thoroughly, Pack said.
On Monday, authorities said Dykes had a gun and appeared increasingly agitated. Negotiations — the details of which have not been made public — were deteriorating. Agents stormed the bunker, whisking the boy to safety and leaving Dykes dead.
By all accounts, despite his ordeal, the 5-year-old appeared to be acting like a normal kid, people around him say. He was running around, playing with a toy dinosaur and other action figures, eating a turkey sandwich and watching “SpongeBob SquarePants,” relatives and Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said.
“We know he's OK physically, but we don't know how he is mentally,” said Betty Jean Ransbottom, the boy's grandmother. She added that she feared the ordeal would stay with the child, who turns 6 on Wednesday, the rest of his life.
An FBI agent had been staying with the family, and relatives learned of the child's rescue after another agent at the scene called the person who was with them.
The family was relieved and grateful for all the support in a community where ribbons, fliers and vigils all symbolized the prayers for the safe return of the boy, whom law enforcement officials have identified by his first name, Ethan.
The boy's mother, in a statement released by the FBI, expressed her thanks for all the hard work of so many officers to bring her son home. The woman declined to be identified, the statement said.
“For the first time in almost a week, I woke up this morning to the most beautiful sight ... my sweet boy,” she said. “I can't describe how incredible it is to hold him again.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Scotland Yard’s Crime Museum goes on display in London
- More emails on Benghazi to go public
- Iowa ex-lottery security officer hit with new charges
- Gun rights supporters protest Obama’s trip to Oregon after campus shooting
- Secret Service Director Clancy revises account of Chaffetz job bid info
- Arizona, Texas university shootings kill 2
- Drone in Ellipse leads to citation for operator
- Hurricane remnants hit Alaska coast
- South Carolina capital’s drinking water at risk
- McCarthy drops out as GOP speaker candidate in shocker
- Transient trio jailed in pair’s slayings in California