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Ethan says 'Cheeeeeese' with a big smile after Alabama kidnapping

February 08, 2013|By Marisa Gerber

For six days, the nation was gripped by the kidnapping ordeal of young Ethan, the 5-year-old Alabama boy held hostage in an underground bunker by a man who had killed his school bus driver.

Only a handful of old family photos of the child -- who was rescued on Monday after police stormed the bunker -- were released to the media. His kidnapper, Jimmy Lee Dykes, was fatally shot by police.

Friday morning, ABC released a short recording of a smiling Ethan as he played with his toy truck. He turned 6 on Wednesday.

In the video Ethan sits cross-legged, widens his eyes, flings his hands in the air and lets out a high-pitched  “cheeeeeese.”

ABC’s David Muir also interviewed Ethan’s family, who said the boy hasn’t yet spoken about what happened inside the bunker or about his kidnapper.

Ethan’s brother, who was not named in the video, said hostage negotiators sent them text messages most nights around 9 p.m. to tell them Ethan was asleep.

"That was actually a lot of comfort," he said.

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marisa.gerber@latimes.com

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