The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released photos and new details of the rescue operation that freed the 5-year-old Alabama boy held hostage for nearly a week in an underground bunker.
On Monday, Digital Journal reported 5-year-old Ethan was rescued by members of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team after he had been held captive for 6 days. On Tuesday, the FBI released photos of the outside of the underground bunker where Ethan had been held, as well as details of the hostage rescue.
According to a CNN report, a source within the FBI stated surveillance drones were used so officials could constantly monitor the situation from above. A small camera was also slipped into the bunker, allowing negotiators and law enforcement officials to monitor what was happening within the bunker at all times. Officials refuse to say how they managed to get a camera into the bunker, only saying:
“It’s a technique we may want to use again, so we’re not being specific.”
Officials have also confirmed that a mock bunker was built near the site of the hostage standoff, enabling the hostage rescue team to practice various rescue attempt scenarios. An FBI source told CNN:
"Dykes built this bunker specifically for law enforcement not to get in and him to not get out."
FBI agents and Dale County negotiators used this pipe to communicate with Jimmy Dykes.
During the previous five days of the hostage situation, officials had been communicating with Dykes through a PVC pipe. While talking with negotiators, Dykes would ask for supplies and law enforcement officials would leave the requested supplies at the entrance of the bunker. On Monday, after negotiations began to "deteriorate" and law enforcement officials saw Dykes holding a gun, they believed the Ethan was in "imminent danger" and decided to use the supply routine to execute a rescue attempt.
A CBS News report states members of the hostage rescue team waited outside the door of the bunker after Dykes asked for supplies. When Dykes climbed the 8 foot ladder and opened the bunker's door, he was off-balance. Members of the rescue team dropped two stun-grenades into the bunker, disorienting Dykes. The four member team then entered the bunker and secured Ethan. Dykes reportedly fired once at team members, but missed. The team returned fire, but FBI spokesman Jason Pack would not say whether the rescue team shot Dykes'. Although FBI officials refuse to confirm whether Dykes died of a self inflicted gun shot wound, or if agents shot him, Pack did say members of the Washington D.C. "shooting review board" are on their way to the scene to investigate the incident.
A tent covers the bunker where where a 5-year-old child was rescued by law enforcement after being held for nearly a week. FBI agents placed the blue tent over the bunker to protect evidence below.
Steve Richardson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Mobile, Alabama office, said members of the FBI's Hazardous Devices Operations team are still on the scene clearing any "potential explosives" that remain in or around the bunker and Dykes' home. The FBI's Evidence Response Team is also on scene, ready to process the area as soon as it is declared safe. An independent review team from Washington, D.C. is en route to assess the scene as well. No motive for the kidnapping has been released and investigators will only say:
"There are a variety of events that may have led to this,. But they are very complex."