Alabama Boy Still Being Held Hostage, Parents Fearful But Calm

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Negotiators continue to work for the release of a 5-year-old autistic boy named Ethan.

We told you yesterday that a 6-year-old boy had been abducted from his school bus in Midland City, Alabama after the driver was shot and killed and that the boy was being held hostage in a bunker under the home of 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes. The boy, who is actually 5 years old, is still being held hostage as of 9:45 am Thursday morning.

Alabama State Senator Harri-Anne Smith and State Representative Steve Clouse appeared on TODAY this morning and said that the boy’s parents are “hanging on by a thread.” The boy is named Ethan and he has a medical condition that is reportedly being treated with medicine provided by his mother to Dykes. According to, Ethan is autistic. They say he “asked for, and received, crayons and a coloring book.”

Dykes is allegedly a survivalist who harbors anti-government sentiments. He shot and killed 66-year-old bus driver Charles Albert Poland Jr. Tuesday afternoon. According to, “Negotiations with the hostage-taker continue …. Yesterday, a video released by WSFA captured audio of the negotiations taking place.” You can hear negotiators shouting, “Give up! You need to exit the shelter, put down any weapons you have and approach police.”

We will update this story as it unfolds.

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