Published On: Sat, Feb 2nd, 2013

Authorities still negotiating with Jimmy Lee Sykes as Alabama hostage crisis hits day five

Authorities said Saturday that they still have an open line of communication with an Alabama man accused of abducting a 5-year-old boy and holding him hostage in a bunker, after he shot and killed a bus driver during the abduction.

Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said in a briefing with reporters that Jimmy Lee Dykes has told them he has blankets and an electric heater in the bunker. Olson said Dykes has allowed authorities to deliver coloring books, medication and toys for the boy.

Jimmy Lee Dykes

Jimmy Lee Dykes

“I want to thank him for taking care of our boy,” Olson said. “That’s very important.”

Olson would not say whether Dykes has made any demands. Olson added that he is limited in the details he can release.

FBI spokesman Jason Pack said Saturday that officials were working to establish a command center near the bunker.

Negotiators were still trying Saturday to persuade Dykes to surrender.

Police have said they believe the Vietnam-era veteran fatally shot a school bus driver Tuesday, and then abducted the boy from the bus and disappeared into the home-made bunker.

Dykes’ neighbors have made statements to the press that are reporting he was anti-government, proud of his bunker, paranoid about people near his property and would rant about politics.

“I believe he wants to rant and rave about politics and government,” Neighbor Michael Creel. “He’s very concerned about his property. He doesn’t want his stuff messed with.”

Police have used a ventilation pipe to the bunker to talk to the man and deliver the boy medication for his emotional disorders, but they have not revealed how often they are in touch or what the conversations have been about.

Meanwhile, Midland City residents held out hope that the standoff would end safely and mourned for the slain bus driver, Charles Poland and his family. Candlelight vigils have been held nightly at a gazebo in front of City Hall.



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