Updates at the end
The Alabama hostage situation is over. The 5-year old chid named Ethan is safe and the kidnapper is dead.
People in the area heard a loud noise or explosion earlier this afternoon just prior to being told the boy was safe. Police might have used a flashbang.
The suspect had been threatening neighbors with a gun prior to the kidnapping and had a court appearance coming up on Wednesday. Neighbors said Dykes was anti-governmnet and very paranoid.
Last Tuesday, Dykes went onto the school bus being driven by Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, a veteran. He demanded two children and threatened to kill all the children on the bus. Mr. Poland stepped between the children and Dykes, releasing the back door at the same time so the children could flee. Twenty children got away thanks to Mr. Poland.
The handicapped children sat in the front of the bus so Mr. Poland could pay special attention to them. The kidnapped little boy is handicapped and was in the front.
Dykes shot Mr. Poland four times as he tried to protect the children. Some reports say that the little boy taken had fainted.
Mr. Poland was buried yesterday in what seemed like a state funeral befitting the hero that he is. Mr. Poland took good care of the children on his bus, giving them gifts, and, in the end, giving his life for him.
“You didn’t deserve to die, though you died knowing that you kept everyone safe,” wrote a student named Courtney H., whose letter the school superintendent read at Mr. Poland’s service. “Being on your bus has been the best times of my life.” [NY Times]
Update Press Conference 17:33:
At about 3:12 this afternoon, the FBI entered the bunker and rescued the child. The subject is deceased. The negotiations which had been going on since last Tuesday had broken down and the suspect was seen holding a gun in the bunker.
The little boy is being observed at the hospital and appears to be physically unharmed after being kept in the bunker for 7 days.
Update: 2/6: 08:00: The little boy is doing well. He’s playing with his toys and eating all the things little boys like to eat. he will probably do better than his parents and grandparents. Thank God for this best scenario ending.