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Alabama child hostage standoff enters 2nd day

January 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Talks continued for a second day Thursday to free a 5-year-old boy being held hostage by a murder suspect in Midland City, Ala.

Police and the FBI are negotiating with Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, who they say is holding the boy in a bunker behind his home. Officials say the suspect might have enough food in his bunker to remain there for weeks or even months.

Investigators say Dykes shot and killed bus driver Charles Poland Jr., 66, and then kidnapped the boy Tuesday afternoon. The gunman had demanded two boys between 6 and 8 years old. When the driver tried to block his way, the gunman shot him several times and took off with the boy.

Investigators have communicated with the suspect through a PVC pipe. They've also gotten the boy necessary medications. He has Asperger's syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Authorities said the bunker had food and electricity.

Dykes was known around the neighborhood as a menacing figure who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a shotgun. He was due in court Wednesday to face charges he shot at neighbors in a dispute last month.

School officials are calling the bus driver a hero. He was shot to death after refusing the gunman's demand to hand over a child. Authorities say he had also tried to block access to the vehicle. School officials say his quick thinking saved the lives of the other children on his bus.

Authorities initially said the boy was 6, but state Rep. Steve Clouse, who visited the boy's family, said he does not turn 6 until next week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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