The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

February 5, 2013

Midland City: Relief that child hostage is safe

(Continued)

Neighbors said they heard a bang and gunshots, but the FBI wouldn't confirm that. Authorities also kept under wraps exactly how they were able to monitor Dykes and the boy in such a confined space.

"We have a big crime scene behind us to process," said Special Agent Steve Richardson of the FBI's office in Mobile. "I can't talk about sources, techniques or methods that we used. But I can tell you the success story is (the boy) is safe."

Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said Dykes was armed when officers entered the bunker. He added the boy was threatened, but declined to elaborate.

"That's why we went inside — to save the child," he said.

Daryle Hendry, who lives about a quarter-mile from the bunker, said he heard a boom Monday afternoon, followed by what sounded like a gunshot. Dykes had been seen with a gun, and officers concluded the boy was in imminent danger, Richardson told reporters.

It was not immediately clear how authorities determined the man had a gun.

The boy was reunited with his mother and taken to a hospital to be checked out. Officials have said he has Asperger's syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Richardson said he saw the child at the hospital and he was laughing, joking, eating and "doing the things you'd expect a normal 5- or 6-year-old to do."

The rescue capped a hostage drama that disrupted the lives of many in a tranquil town of 2,400 people set amid peanut farms and cotton fields some 100 miles southeast of the state capital of Montgomery.

It's a small, close-knit community that has long relied on a strong Christian faith, a policy of "love thy neighbor" and the power of group prayer.

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