Boy in the bunker: new details emerge about ‘menacing’ captor Jimmy | Alabama hostage standoff enters sixth day

Posted: February 4, 2013 in Bunker, Hostage
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Boy in the bunker: new details emerge about  ‘menacing’ captor Jimmy
Alabama hostage standoff enters sixth day

The hostage standoff in Midland City continues, as the town prepares to bury  the school bus driver killed by the suspected gunman.

As an Alabama stand-off and hostage drama enters a sixth day, more details  have emerged about the suspect at the centre, with neighbours and officials  painting a picture of an isolated man with few friends and no close family.

Authorities say Jim Lee Dykes, 65 – a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War  known as Jimmy to neighbours – gunned down a school bus driver and then abducted  a five-year-old boy from the bus, taking him to an underground bunker on his  rural property.

    He doesn’t like law enforcement or the government telling him what to do.  He’s just a loner.The driver, 66-year-old Charles Poland, was being buried on Monday  (AEDT).

Ronda Wilbur, a neighbor of  Jimmy Lee Dykes, points as she speaks with the media about encounters she's had with him at the scene of the shooting and hostage taking in Midland City, Alabama.Menacing … Ronda Wilbur, a neighbour of  Jimmy Lee Dykes, points as she  speaks with the media about encounters she’s had with him at the scene of the  shooting and hostage taking in Midland City, Alabama. Photo:  Reuters

Dykes, described as a loner who railed against the government, lives up a  dirt road north of Dothan in the south-east corner of the state. His home is  just off the main road north to the state capital of Montgomery, about 130km  away.

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The FBI said in a statement that authorities continue to have an open line of  communication with Dykes and they planned to deliver to the bunker additional  comfort items such as food, toys and medicine. They also said Dykes was making  the child as comfortable as possible.

Republican Rep. Steve Clouse, who represents the Midland City area, said he  visited the boy’s mother on Thursday and she was “hanging on by a  thread.”
“Everybody is praying with her for the boy,” he  said.
Clouse said the mother told him that the boy has Asperger’s  syndrome, an autism-like disorder, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity  disorder, or ADHD.

Along the red dirt road ... A Google satellite image of Dykes' property, where a boy is being held in an underground bunker.Along the red dirt road … A Google satellite image of Dykes’ property,  where a boy is being held in an underground bunker. Photo: CNN  screengrab

Government records and interviews with neighbours indicate that Dykes grew up  in the Dothan area and joined the navy, serving on active duty from 1964 to  1969. His record shows several awards, including the Vietnam Service Medal and  the Good Conduct Medal. During his service, Dykes was trained in aviation  maintenance.

Later, Dykes lived in Florida, where he worked as a surveyor and a long-haul  truck driver although it’s unclear for how long.

He had some scrapes with the law there, including a 1995 arrest for improper  exhibition of a weapon. The misdemeanour was dismissed. He also was arrested for  marijuana possession in 2000.

Authorities, including the FBI, wait at the scene.Tense … Authorities, including the FBI, wait at the scene. Photo:  AP

He returned to Alabama about two years ago, moving onto the rural tract about  90 metres from his nearest neighbours, Michael Creel and his father, Greg.

Dykes was known around the neighbourhood as a menacing figure who neighbours  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.

Michael Creel said Dykes had an adult daughter, but the two lost touch years  ago.

Jim Lee Dykes, 65.Jim Lee Dykes, 65. Photo: Reuters

Another neighbour, Jimmy Davis Jnr, told CNN he had been shown around the  underground bunker by Dykes himself about nine months ago.

”He told me it was a storm shelter,” Mr Davis Jnr said.

“It actually had cinder blocks going down as steps and it was covered up with  two sheets of plywood nailed together with hinges and stuff as a door to open to  it.”

Mr Davis Jnr said Dykes had also buried a PVC pipe in the ground leading to  the bunker, so he could hear cars and people approaching from above.

The shelter was about a metre underground and negotiators were speaking to  Dykes through the pipe, James Arrington, police chief of the neighboring town of  Pinckard said.
“He will have to give up sooner or later because  (authorities) are not leaving,” Arrington said. “It’s pretty small, but he’s  been known to stay in there eight days.

Chief Arrington confirmed that Dykes held anti-government views, as described  by multiple neighbours: “He’s against the government – starting with Obama on  down.”
“He doesn’t like law enforcement or the government telling him  what to do,” he said. “He’s just a loner.”

AP, with theage.com.au

 

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