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FBI: Officers stormed bunker when child in danger

AAA  Feb. 4, 2013 5:46 PM ET
FBI: Officers stormed bunker when child in danger
By TAMARA LUSH and KATE BRUMBACKBy TAMARA LUSH and KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press THE ASSOCIATED PRESS STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES 

Members of the community gather to pray for a 5-year-old taken hostage, in Midland City, Ala., Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. Authorities say Jim Lee Dykes, 65 — a decorated Vietnam-era veteran known as Jimmy to neighbors — gunned down a school bus driver and then abducted a 5-year-old boy from the bus, taking him to an underground bunker on his rural property. The driver, 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr., who was shot trying to protect children on his bus, was buried Sunday. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Members of the community gather to pray for a 5-year-old taken hostage, in Midland City, Ala., Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. Authorities say Jim Lee Dykes, 65 — a decorated Vietnam-era veteran known as Jimmy to neighbors — gunned down a school bus driver and then abducted a 5-year-old boy from the bus, taking him to an underground bunker on his rural property. The driver, 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr., who was shot trying to protect children on his bus, was buried Sunday. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Lauren Higginson, a student on Charles “Chuck” Poland’s bus, hugs her teddy bear during the ceremony to honor Poland at the Ozark Civic Center on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in Ozark, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Family members embrace during the funeral service of Charles “Chuck†Poland in Ozark, Ala., Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. Authorities say Jim Lee Dykes, 65 — a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War known as Jimmy to neighbors — gunned down Poland, a school bus driver, and then abducted a 5-year-old boy from the bus, taking him to an underground bunker on his rural property. (AP Photo/Dothan Eagle, Danny Tindell)

A sign encouraging prayer for a 5-year-old boy being held hostage, hangs on a fence surrounding Midland City Elementary school Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2013, in Midland City, Ala. Authorities say Jim Lee Dykes, 65 — a decorated Vietnam-era veteran known as Jimmy to neighbors — gunned down a school bus driver and then abducted a 5-year-old boy from the bus, taking him to an underground bunker on his rural property. The driver, 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr., who was shot trying to protect children on his bus, was buried Sunday. (AP Photo/AL.com, Joe Songer)

Cole Wyatt watches the candle flicker as he sits with his mom, Sheree Wyatt, as friends gather to pray for a 5-year-old taken hostage, in Midland City, Ala., Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. Authorities say Jim Lee Dykes, 65 — a decorated Vietnam-era veteran known as Jimmy to neighbors — gunned down a school bus driver and then abducted a 5-year-old boy from the bus, taking him to an underground bunker on his rural property. The driver, 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr., who was shot trying to protect children on his bus, was buried Sunday. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

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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.

Associated Press

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