The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 7, 2013

FBI: No other explosives found near Midland City bunker



Bomb technicians have found no more explosive devices after an arduous search of the rural Alabama property of Jimmy Lee Dykes, the gunman who shot dead a school bus driver and held a boy captive for nearly a week in a rigged underground bunker.

Dykes was killed Monday by SWAT team members during a gunfight when officers raided the bunker and rescued the kindergartner unharmed, officials said. With the work of bomb experts concluded, Dykes' body could be safely removed from the bunker, the FBI said.

An autopsy was planned Thursday and the FBI said evidence-collection and review teams had already begun the next phase — sifting the crime scene.

The FBI said after the raid that the 65-year-old man had planted one explosive artifact in a ventilation pipe used by negotiators to communicate with him in his underground bunker in the bucolic farming community of Midland City. The agency said a second device was found in the roughly 6-by-8-foot hand-dug bunker. Both were safely removed.

FBI Special Agent Paul Bresson said in an email late Wednesday that the technicians who scoured the 100-acre property in the days after the end of the standoff had "completed their work and cleared the crime scene."

"No additional devices were found," he added.

Dale County Coroner Woodrow Hilboldt told The Associated Press late Wednesday that he was waiting to pronounce Dykes dead. He added that the autopsy would be held at the state forensic laboratory in Montgomery.

Bresson, meanwhile, said evidence review teams now processing the crime scene could take two or three days to finish their work. A shooting review team from Washington also is reviewing the hostage-taking episode that began Jan. 29 with the attack on the school bus.

Authorities said Dykes boarded the bus full of children and gunned down drive Charles Albert Poland Jr. as he sought to protect the 21 children on board. According to officials, the gunman then seized a 5-year-old boy and fled with his hostage to the nearby bunker, setting up the standoff that had captured national attention.

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