The Alabama hostage crisis, which resulted in the death of a 66-year-old school bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., and the hostage taking of five-year-old Ethan by Jimmy Lee Dykes, is into its seventh day. Who is Jimmy Lee Dykes?
Jimmy Lee Dykes stepped into a school bus on January 29th and demanded that two children be given to him, which 66 year old Charles Albert Poland Jr refused to comply with. Dykes allegedly gunned down the school bus driver and abducted five year old boy, identified as Ethan. Dykes retreated into a bunker, where he is holding the boy. As law enforcement officials continue their delicate hostage taking with Dykes, details have emerged on the background of Dykes.
Authorities say Jim Lee Dykes, 65 - a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War known as Jimmy to neighbours - gunned down a school bus driver and then abducted a five-year-old boy from the bus, taking him to an underground bunker on his rural property.
Dykes is described as a loner, whio lives up a dirt road in tiny hamlet north of Dothan in he southeast corner of Alabama, about 80 miles from the capital Montgomery. According to neighbors he moved into the are about five years ago.
Law enforcement officials have an open line of communication with Dykes and are planning to deliver comfort items, such as food and medicine. Officials say that Dykes is making the boy as comfortable as possible.
According to FOX News, Dykes is described as a loner. The 65 year old is a decorated Vietnam veteran, who was on active duty in the US Navy from 1965 to 1969. His records indicate that he was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He was trained in aviation maintenance.
He is described as an angry old man, who rails against the government, starting with President Obama down and listens to a lot of conservative talk radio. After leaving the navy Dykes resided in Florida, where he worked as a surveyor and long haul truck driver.
He had some scrapes with the law, which included improper display of a firearm in 1995, a charge that was dismissed. In 2000 he was arrested for marijuana possession.
According to CNN, his neighbors describe him as a man who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe and has threatened to shoot local children that were stepping on his property. He is said to patrol his property at night with a flashlight.
Another neighbour, Jimmy Davis Jnr, told CNN he had been shown around the underground bunker by Dykes himself about nine months ago.
''He told me it was a storm shelter," Mr Davis Jnr said.
"It actually had cinder blocks going down as steps and it was covered up with two sheets of plywood nailed together with hinges and stuff as a door to open to it."
Mr Davis Jnr said Dykes had also buried a PVC pipe in the ground leading to the bunker, so he could hear cars and people approaching from above.
As the hostage drama continues, the details reveal that Dykes is a troubled man, who may be unpredictable, but it is also believed that he will probably not harm the boy. He is not believed to be a copycat of the Newtown massacre, since he could have easily killed the children on he bus.
Hostage negotiations are always difficult and obviously the negotiators do not want to make any mistakes. The bunker, according to reports, only has one trap door entrance and it would be difficult to enter, in an attempt to free the boy. The key to the situation is that the channels of communication are open. How this drama will affect the boy remains to be seen.