Hostage negotiators have been speaking with Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, who they say is holding a 5-year-old boy in an underground bunker behind his home in Midland City. Officials say Dykes might have enough food in his bunker to remain there for weeks or even months.
Authorities have been communicating with the suspect through a 4-inch-wide ventilation pipe, trying to talk the truck driver into freeing the boy. One local official said the child had been crying for his parents.
Investigators say Dykes pulled the child from a school bus on Tuesday after killing the driver, who tried to protect the 21 youngsters on board.
The gunman and the boy are holed up in a small room on Dykes' property that authorities likened to a tornado shelter, something common to this area of the South. The bunker has electricity, food and a TV.
The 5-year-old's mother has told officials that her child has Asperger's syndrome, an autism-like disorder, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Police have been delivering medication to him through the pipe.
Investigators have not spoken of a motive yet, but the police chief says the FBI had evidence suggesting it could be considered a hate crime.
Dykes was known around the neighborhood as a menacing figure who neighbors said 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 firearm. He was due in court Wednesday to face charges he shot at neighbors in a dispute last month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.