The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 1, 2013

Negotiators talking to Midland City captor through pipe

(Continued)

Midland City Mayor Virgil Skipper said he has been briefed by law enforcement agents and has visited with the boy's parents.

"He's crying for his parents," he said. "They are holding up good. They are praying and asking all of us to pray with them."

Republican Rep. Steve Clouse, who represents the Midland City area, said he visited the boy's mother Thursday and that she is "hanging on by a thread."

"Everybody is praying with her for the boy," he said.

Clouse said the mother told him that the boy has Asperger's syndrome, an autism-like disorder, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Police have been delivering medication to him through the pipe, he added.

The normally quiet red clay road leading to the bunker teemed Friday with more than a dozen police cars and trucks, a fire truck, a helicopter, officers from multiple agencies and news media near Midland City, population 2,300.

Police vehicles have come and gone steadily for hours from the command post, a small church taken over for that use

Early Friday, activity picked up when a team in military-style uniforms, many toting weapons, got out of a big van in the pre-dawn chill and moved into a staging area. One appeared to be dog handler.

But after a chilly night, the activity of law enforcement appeared to slow toward dawn though a mobile command center remained starkly lit with bright lights. A small aircraft with blinking lights traced wide circles high overhead for hours. An ambulance was parked nearby.

Dykes was known around the neighborhood as a menacing figure who neighbors said 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.

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