11 am February 4, UPDATE – The Alabama kindergarten boy remains a hostage inside an underground bunker in Midland City. Drones are flying over the bunker area. the done planes are reportedly gathering images for law enforcement officers. Hostage negotiations with Jimmy Lee Dykes are ongoing. The boy, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, is going on his seventh day inside the bunker. A press conference is planned for Monday afternoon, Fox News reports.
10 am February 1, UPDATE – The kidnapped Alabama boy remains a hostage in the underground bunker owned by Jimmy Lee Dykes. Police negotiators reportedly talked through a 4-inch-wide ventilation pipe with Dykes on Thursday. The officers continue to try and convince the man accused of shooting a Midland City bus driver to release the child, according to the Denver Post.
The underground bunker reportedly encompasses 6-by-8 feet of space. The kindergarten boy and Dykes are reportedly about 4-feet underground. The retired truck driver has allegedly been known to stay inside the bunker for up to eight days at a time.
8 pm UPDATE – The kidnapped Alabama boy who reportedly has autism, remains a hostage inside an underground bunker. The little boy is reportedly crying for his mother. Jimmy Lee Dykes, the suspected murdered who is underground with the Midland City kindergartener, has allowed the child to take medicine lowered down via a PVC pipe attached to the bunker. The little boy was also given crayons and coloring books. If Fox News updates are accurate, Dykes has enough supplies to remain in the bunker with the child for days, or possibly even weeks.
8:00 am UPDATE – The Alabama school bus kidnapping victim remains inside the underground bunker. The little boy has autism, according to Fox News. Suspected kidnapper Jimmy Lee Dykes is reportedly allowing the boy to take his needed medication. Dykes, 65, is a retired truck driver. The Midland City underground bunker is reportedly equipped with a television and food. Nothing changed in the hostage stand-off overnight. Law enforcement officers believe that the kidnapped Alabama boy remains unharmed. It is not known if Dykes has made any demands during hostage negotiations.
3:00 pm UPDATE – The press have been moved further back from the bunker which contains the Alabama school bus kidnapping victim, Fox News notes. Law enforcement officers have reportedly been moving around the scene in the past hour. The kidnapped little boy allegedly has special needs. Medication was reportedly sent down into the bunker via a PVC pipe for the child.
12:00 pm UPDATE – Dale County Schools will be closed for the rest of the week. District officials made the decision out of respect of the kidnapped little boy and bus driver Charles Poland. The 66-year-old school employee is being hailed as a hero for giving his own life to protect the 21 children on the Alabama school bus, the Dothan Eagle notes.
Poland had been a full-time bus driver for Dale County Schools for four years. Prior to becoming a permanent staffer, the Alabama senior citizen had been a substitute driver in the district.
A statement from Dale County Schools Superintendent Donny Bynum reads:
“Mr. Poland was well-loved by all of us here at Dale County Schools. He was a valuable member of our transportation department, and we will forever remember him for the bravery he showed yesterday. Now our thoughts and efforts are with our children. Their well-being is our number one concern. The authorities, the Midland City Police Department, the Dale County Sheriff’s Department, ABI, FBI, Homeland Security, and other surrounding city and county agencies, responded immediately to this situation and are doing everything within their powers to see to the safe release of this six-year-old kindergarten student.”
10:30 am UPDATE – The Midland City school bus driver killed during the kidnapping has been identified as Charles Albert Polard, Jr. The Alabama school bus driver was 66, according to the Dothan Eagle.
Alabama school bus kidnapping witness Michael Creel had this to say about chasing the alleged suspect, Jimmy Lee Dykes:
“He’s 67 years old, so I figured I could catch him. Apparently he didn’t go through the field like I thought. He’s got a four-foot-wide, about six-foot-long, eight-foot-deep homemade bomb shelter. It’s got about three to four feet of sand on top of it. If you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t notice it.”
James Edward Davis, Jr., who is reportedly a neighbor of the alleged kidnapping suspect, supposedly had an altercation with the accused gunman in December. Davis stated that Dykes pulled a gun on him and his daughter after a dispute. Dykes allegedly believed that Davis had driven through his backyard.
9:30 am UPDATE – Jimmy Lee Dykes was allegedly due in court today to answer the charges filed against him in December. Although law enforcement officers have yet to confirm whether or not there is a relationship between the alleged kidnapper and the child, witnesses indicate they were complete strangers. The Alabama school bus driver killed during the kidnapping is being hailed as a hero for attempting to thwart the hostage taker. Students on the bus noted during meetings with the press that the kidnapper told the driver to give him a child, and the man refused.
8:10 am UPDATE – The Alabama school bus driver was allegedly shot four times by Jimmy Lee Dykes, LA Late reports. The driver’s foot was reportedly on the bus pedal when he was shot, sending the vehicle rolling backwards with students still on board, the Dothan Eagle notes. Dykes was allegedly arrested and charged with menacing in late December.
8 am UPDATE – The Alabama school bus kidnapping suspect has been identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes. The man who is hunkered down inside a bunker with a little boy is a military veteran in his 60s, according to ABC News. The kidnapped boy and the bus driver remain unidentified. Law enforcement officers on the scene reportedly remain in communication with the kidnapper and referred to the situation as “sensitive.”
Midland City, AL – A 6-year-old boy was kidnapped from a school bus and held hostage in underground bunker. The incident began on Tuesday afternoon when an armed man shot the Alabama school bus driver and took the child. Police officers were still negotiating with the kidnapper for the boy’s release on Wednesday morning.
Late Tuesday night, Dale County Sheriff’s Department officials and officers from assisting agencies made contact with the hostage taker. The communication occurred via a pipe the gunman had attached to his underground bunker. The victim is reportedly unharmed, ABC News reports.
The Alabama school bus driver died as the result of his gunshot wounds. Students who were also on the bus stated that the man came aboard and said he needed a “kid” because the “law” was after him. After shooting the bus driver, the vehicle rolled off the road, and the students ran to a nearby house for help, according to Fox News.
A minister whose church is near the bus stop where the kidnapping occurred spoke with the children who hid behind his building after the gunman left. One of the students reportedly told Minister Michael Senn that he knew the kidnapped boy well.
Senn had this to say after the Alabama school bus kidnapping:
“I spoke with a young guy, 13-years-old, that was really traumatized. The boy, who is really good friends with the hostage, witnessed the entire incident. I talked with him and ministered with him and prayed with him before he left.”
Another student told school bus stop neighbor Mike Creel that the kidnapper initially attempted to take two children. Creel reportedly chased the Alabama kidnapper but was unable to keep up. Creel referred to the kidnapper as a neighbor, WSFA News reports.
If witness statements are accurate, the gunman was only able to take one hostage because the kidnapped boy fainted during the incident and was quickly removed from the bus.
Alabama police officers have not released any details about the hostage taker or the bus driver’s name. The hostage taker has allegedly lived in the neighborhood for two years. If Creel’s comments are accurate, the man began building the underground bomb shelter not long after moving in.
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