5-year-old bunker hostage safeDale County Sheriff Wally Olsen answers questions from the media about the close of the hostage crisis. (AP Photo)
Tue, February 05, 2013 - 11:29 AM
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) -- A 5-year-old boy was back with his ecstatic family and playing with his toy dinosaur after his nearly weeklong ordeal as a hostage in an underground bunker was ended by a sudden police raid and the death of his kidnapper.
The FBI and other law enforcement officials left plenty of questions open about how they made the call to rush in and what happened inside the closet-sized hideout on a rural Alabama property, where the boy had been held by Jimmy Lee Dykes. But relatives said there was no question about the relief they feel.
"If I could, I would do cartwheels all the way down the road," the boy's great-aunt, Debra Cook, told ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday. "We'd all been walking around in a fog."
She said the boy was happy and playing with his old toys, including a dinosaur. "He was having the biggest time," Cook said.
After FBI agents determined that talks with an increasingly agitated Dykes were breaking down, they stormed the shelter Monday afternoon and freed the kindergartner. The 65-year-old armed captor was killed by law enforcement agents, an official told The Associated Press.
Almost a week after Dykes was accused of fatally shooting a school bus driver on Jan. 29 and grabbing the child from among a busload of students, authorities were undertaking an extensive investigation of the standoff site - some 100 acres in Midland City where Dykes had built his bunker.
An official in Midland City, citing information from law enforcement, said police had shot Dykes. The official requested anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the investigation into the case that had captured national attention.
But federal authorities were tight-lipped about specifics of how they ended the standoff.
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 FBI agent Steve Richardson of the agency'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.
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