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Report: FBI was watching bunker hostage-taker the whole time

February 04, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • Federal and local law enforcement officers gather at their trucks after the hostage crisis ended in Midland City, Ala., on Monday afternoon.
Federal and local law enforcement officers gather at their trucks after… (Jay Hare / Dothan Eagle/Associated…)

Federal Bureau of Investigation negotiators were watching Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, "the whole time" as they prepared to enter the bunker where Dykes was holding a 5-year-old boy hostage, CBS News reported in its Monday evening broadcast.

Officials rescued the boy, named Ethan, early Monday evening in a surprise raid that left Dykes dead, ending a nearly weeklong standoff that began after Dykes boarded a bus and killed a bus driver before taking the boy to his underground bunker.

Citing unnamed federal sources, CBS News reported that the FBI rescue team created two diversions to distract Dykes before they entered the bunker from the top.

Officials said at a news conference that negotiations had deteriorated over the past 24 hours and that they had seen Dykes with a gun inside the bunker.

“At this point, FBI agents, fearing the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child," Stephen E. Richardson, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Mobile, Ala., said at a nationally televised news conference.

Officials did not go into further detail at the news conference, promising more information soon.

CBS News reported that officials had lowered a camera into the Dykes' bunker and "had eyes on him the whole time."

Dykes attacked the school bus a day before he was to appear in local court to answer charges of menacing a neighbor. According to residents of Midland City, Dykes was a fierce presence, firing shots at people and beating to death a dog that trespassed on his property.

Authorities maintained contact with Dykes through a 4-inch PVC pipe through which medicine was sent into the underground shelter, built by Dykes. Ethan was said to have a form of autism.

Michael Muskal contributed to this report.

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