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Sheriff thanks suspect for taking care of boy

alabamaYahoo News – by MELISSA NELSON-GABRIEL and JAY REEVES | Associated Press

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — 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, and they thanked the suspect for taking care of the child as the standoff marked its fifth day.

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.

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

Authorities say Dykes shot a school bus driver Tuesday and took the boy to the bunker on his property in rural Midland City.

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.

While police were mostly staying mum about the delicate negotiations, it fell to neighbors to fill in the blanks about Dykes, described by some as a menacing figure with anti-government views.

One of Dykes’ next-door neighbors said the suspect spent two or three months constructing the bunker, digging several feet into the ground and then building a structure of lumber and plywood, which he covered with sand and dirt.

Neighbor Michael Creel said Dykes put the plastic pipe underground from the bunker to the end of his driveway so he could hear if anyone drove up to his gate. When Dykes finished the shelter a year or so ago, he invited Creel to see it — and he did.

“He was bragging about it. He said, ‘Come check it out,” Creel said.

He said he believes Dykes’ goal with the standoff is to publicize his political beliefs.

“I believe he wants to rant and rave about politics and government,” Creel said. “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. Authorities waited until Friday to confirm the suspect’s identity.

While much of what is going on inside the bunker remains a mystery, local officials who have spoken to police or the boy’s family have described a small room with food, electricity and a TV. And while the boy has his medication, an official also said he has been crying for his parents.

Meanwhile, Midland City residents held out hope that the standoff would end safely and mourned for the slain bus driver and his family. Candlelight vigils have been held nightly at a gazebo in front of City Hall. Residents prayed, sang songs such as “Amazing Grace” and nailed homemade wooden crosses on the gazebo’s railings alongside signs that read: “We are praying for you.”

“We’re doing any little thing that helps show support for him,” said 15-year-old Taylor Edwards said.

Former hostage negotiators said authorities must be cautious and patient as long as they are confident that the boy is unharmed. Ex-FBI hostage negotiator Clint Van Zandt advised against any drastic measures such as cutting the electricity or putting sleeping gas inside the bunker because it could agitate Dykes.

The negotiator should try to ease Dykes’ anxieties over what will happen when the standoff ends, and refer to both the boy and Dykes by their first names, he said.

“I want to give him a reason to come out,” Van Zandt said.

State Rep. Mike Ball of Huntsville, who spent 15 years as a hostage negotiator with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, said Saturday that the key is patiently building a relationship with Dykes.

“They want to build a relationship with him and calm down the feeling of hopelessness he has,” he said. “Any day that goes by with the child alive is a victory. If you string enough of those days together, he will come out.”

At a brief news conference Friday to release a photo of Dykes, police brushed off any questions about possible charges.

“It’s way too early for that,” said Kevin Cook, a spokesman for the Alabama state troopers.

Police have described the bunker as about 4 feet underground, with about 6-by-8 feet of floor space and the PVC pipe that negotiators were speaking through.

State Rep. Steve Clouse, who represents the Midland City area, said he visited the boy’s mother and she is “hanging on by a thread.” Clouse said the mother told him that the boy has Asperger’s syndrome as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Dr. Nadine Kaslow, a family therapist and psychiatry professor at Emory University in Atlanta, said the boy’s emotional troubles might make things even more difficult for him.

“They have less way to make sense of things,” she said of children with Asperger’s and ADHD.

The normally quiet red-clay road leading to the bunker was busy Friday with more than a dozen police cars and trucks, a fire truck, a helicopter, officers from multiple agencies and news media near Midland City. The town, population 2,300, is about 100 miles southeast of Montgomery.

Police vehicles have come and gone for hours from the command post, a small church nearby.

Neighbors said Dykes was easily angered and 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 in the Navy from 1964 to 1969, serving some time in Japan, according to military records.

Authorities said Dykes boarded a stopped school bus filled with 21 children on Tuesday afternoon and 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 the 5-year-old boy.

The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by local residents as a hero who gave his life to protect the pupils on his bus.

Dykes had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to answer charges he shot at his neighbors in a dispute last month over a speed bump. Neighbor Claudia Davis said he yelled and fired shots at her and her family over damage Dykes claimed their pickup truck did to a makeshift speed bump in the dirt road. No one was hurt.

Creel said his father and Dykes are friends. Creel said that after Dykes’ arrest, Dykes wrote a 2- to 3-page letter that at least in part addressed the menacing case.

Michael Creel said he hasn’t seen the letter but that his father, Greg Creel, has. Dykes reportedly told the elder Creel he had sent the letter to the local media, politicians and Alabama’s governor.

Police on Friday took a copy of the letter from the Creels’ home, according to Michael Creel. Reached for comment, Greg Creel confirmed the existence of the letter but declined further comment and said he was cooperating with police.

A neighbor directly across the street, Brock Parrish, said Dykes usually wore overalls and glasses and his posture was hunched-over. He said Dykes usually drove a run-down “creeper” van with some of the windows covered in aluminum foil.

Parrish often saw him digging in his yard, as if he were preparing to lay down a driveway or building foundation. He lived in a small camping trailer and patrolled his lawn at night, walking from corner to corner with a flashlight and a long gun. Authorities have not disclosed what firearms Dykes might have in his possession.


Associated Press writers Eric Tucker in Washington; Tamara Lush and Phillip Rawls in Midland City; Bob Johnson in Montgomery, Ala., and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

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13 Responses to Sheriff thanks suspect for taking care of boy

  1. NC says:

    FIVE DAYS and still going. This is completely ridiculous! Gee…Maybe their SWAT should be given a tank to take out the bunker like the police in Georgia were given. (sarcasm)

  2. Johnathan says:

    I call bullcrap… Lanzas mother was a prepper, this guy has a bunker and anti govt views… Its all phoney….. They are setting the MENTAL PICTURE FOR THE PUBLIC…. so when they swat team all the patriots in the country they have the rally cry from most of america, falsley giving them the APPEARANCE OF THE MORAL HIGH GROUND. i for one do not believe any of it happened.. Sandy, this, or any other for that matter. The first incidents, oregon and colorado were conveniently around the FIRST UN arms talks.. They failed because of CCW holders. Then sandy .. All too coincidental for me to swallow.. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three and four times is carefully calculated and played out..

  3. Amanda says:

    This is exactly what they are doing. If you notice the “solution” to the second amendment conflict, notice it evolves around “mental health.” I read a letter today that was wrote and signed by Special Forces that is circulating through pro-gun advocates. This has me so concerned.

    Psychology is a subjective science. Psychology has been used in the past as a way to take out opposing political contingents. If the number 3 suggestion goes through, this gives great power to the government. Psychology is based off of the social “norms” of the time, personal bias and goals of the evaluator. There is great incentive to label a person defective and even greater incentive to “err on the side of caution” if a person has ANY of the “risk” factors, because a psychologist/doctor could become liable. The government will have unlimited power over many veterans under the VA health care system and veterans are already classified terrorists. For us, who decide to question the government, we are already classified terrorists. Those that protest, who are religious “extremists”(subjective term), loners, preppers, etc are classified terrorists . The government has a hand in deciding what a “terrorist” really is or what to look for and then trains our local police, doctors, administrators, psychologists and then other citizens through media (like the example above). Involuntary outpatient treatment takes a person’s constitutional rights away without a crime, jury or trial. It gives real criminals more rights of due process. Plus, psychology is a way the government can change the “laws” without the input from citizens. Psychology leaves a person open to being forced to conform even without a CRIME. If people really don’t like losing the 2nd amendment and the right to defend ourselves, then giving the government the ability to take away our constitutional rights, without a crime, trial or jury, should bother us even more.

    As for giving schools the power to decide what they need to keep kids safe, this will become worse than the TSA. Schools will be forced into arming its staff, because if anything should happen to a child they would then become liable. We are already seeing a huge whiplash across the country and the loss of common sense. Elementary students are being branded and expelled for things such as a bubble gun, tiny GI Joe figurines, and “gun” shaped pieces of paper. Maybe we shouldn’t have a kneejerk reaction and realize laws don’t fix criminals, but they do oppress law abiding citizens. Watch the video below and ruminate over giving schools the unchecked power to protect kids.

  4. the very fact that the ADL/FBI is involved says so much…

    and with talmudvision parroting the narrative manufactured by the ADL/FBI is a double down not good…

    why would the people of Alabama allow these parasites in to manage a presumably local event ?

    ….remember Hillary always cackles and says …”It’s for the Children”….

    and the kneepad wearing ZOG US “Senators” will sing in unison the Amen Corner anthem….for “Israel”….go figure

  5. Jolly Roger says:

    Well I hope he takes out a few cops before they get him, and he should, because he’ll never see the light of day again anyway.

  6. Johnathan says:

    I disagree with action against law enforcment. They are all afraid for their jobs and just looking out for their paycheck and pensions. They will follow orders simply to make sure they have a job, The Traitors in washington have everyone in the country right where they want them. I do however think they should use A LOT MORE DISCRETION when executing warrants and such but dont forget EVERYONE IN THE COUNTRY HAS BEEN INDOCTRINATED !! The police to be jackboot thugs, the children to be dumbed down obedient slaves who have no job choices graduating college so more and more are signing up to join the military and are being taught in places like west point to hate fellow americans, the rest of the populous to just believe what cnn and fox say. Its a well thought out plan and now the gun grab is the final puzzle piece before they drop the hammer and tax you off your land, steal your pensions, and force vaccines on everyone to ensure you stay stupid slaves. Whats happening is they can NOT CONTROL THE FLOW OF INFO ANYMORE. They know the population is waking up so fast that they REALLY NEED TO CONFISCATE FIREARMS BEFORE ITS TOO LATE FOR THEM. Think about this, they are robbing this country blind, insider trading, robbing your children and grandchildrens future, stealing elections, chemtrailing you and your kids everyday, trafficking drugs, torturing people, killing millions around the world to take control of the resources, YOU THINK THEY WANT YOU TO HAVE GUNS ????? They know they are screwed unless they go all the way now. This IS THE FINAL PIECE IN THEIR TWISTED PUZZLE. Grab the guns before they round us all up for the gallows pole. Thats why they are pushing so hard for this.. All these shootings are staged hoaxes, whether people died or not THEY ARE STAGED. I have news for them too, they are getting real sloppy, but thats what happenes when criminals panic, they make mistakes.

    • woody188 says:

      Unfortunately, those tasked with enforcing the “law” will be fired upon should any gun confiscation come to fruition. It is the fact that they will be threatened with their lives that will make them think twice about enforcing unlawful edicts. They risk their lives or they will quit. This is precisely why we are armed in the first place. Who would take their place?

    • diggerdan says:

      Go ahead and stick up for the damned pigs there Johnathan like you said in your first 3 sentences. Them pigs knew that they were going to get into a job/profession like they chosen so therefore they deserve every thing they got comming to them. A cop has absolutly no sympathy from me at all, they are all the scumbag rot of the earth. There is no such thing as a good cop.

  7. Whizerd67 says:

    Give the kid a higher dosage of the brain drugs( they’re making it look like a good thing while this incident takes place) ..and when they kick in, the child goes postal on his pussy ass, and releases himself.(yes..that is not a real wish, it’s ironic sarcasm kinda…but it gives ya something to think about.)( I wouldn’t put a child through that..ever!)
    That is…IF everything reported(and unreported) is actually happening.
    I know ONE thing ALL media is reporting about it that IS true…….they’re keeping awfully tight-lipped about it.
    You have to wonder the reason.
    No ‘demands’. Absolutely NOTHING that is conversed between them is being said….no “he’s not being offensive or uncoroperative” or “he is displaying strong convitctions against police, and govt in general” Nothing.
    No ’cause’…oh, well..other than he’s an anti-govt, radical, prepper — type of madman. Which, if all this is true, he is…you don’t put children in danger like that. I don’t give a damn WHAT the hell is going on in your life. And killing a person that was protecting the kids? That’s nuts. You don’t just DO that. 98% of methheads probably wouldn’t do that, without a ‘reason'(there really IS no reason imho, but you know what I’m saying)
    Thats my skepticism about all this… something is not being told..FOR A REASON.
    Not going to say its all false, because frankly, I don’t think it is all false….but damn!
    And the longer this ‘show’ by the media and authorities goes on about it,the more the way things that ARE for REAL, will be nothing more than a distant memory for a select few brainwashed puppets..that believe their own lies anyway.
    (Hate to say it about a tragic, and horrifying-for-the-child-and-children incident, but at this point, it is a brainwashing show. No disrespect intended. I am furious at the plot.)

    I’ll lay odds he doesn’t make it out of there alive to say ANYTHING on public record that can’t be tampered with. In a way, for his horrific acts, if entirely true, he needs to be taken from society for a slow death…imo.

    ~Blessed Be to all~

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