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Dr. Phil interviews mom of Alabama boy who was held in bunker

February 13, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • A sign in front of the Midland City Town Hall, where 5-year-old Ethan Gilman was kidnapped and held hostage in a bunker for nearly a week.
A sign in front of the Midland City Town Hall, where 5-year-old Ethan Gilman… (Jay Hare / AL.com )

The 5-year-old Alabama boy who was held hostage in an underground bunker saw his kidnapper shot to death, his mother told TV personality Dr. Phil McGraw in an interview set to broadcast Wednesday.

The exclusive interview deflates the last of the privacy cocoon that had been erected around Ethan, now 6, and his mother after 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes boarded a school bus Jan. 29, shot its driver and took the boy hostage.

In excerpts of the interview released to promote Dr. Phil's Wednesday show -- bumpered by Jerry Bruckheimer-esque action-movie music -- the boy's mother, Jennifer Kirkland, said that she wanted to take the boy's place in the bunker and that she asked to speak with Dykes.

"Did he see Mr. Dykes shot and killed?" Dr. Phil asked.

"He absolutely did. He says the Army came in and shot the bad man," Kirkland said.

The promo also said Dr. Phil would interview the boy, who celebrated his 6th birthday shortly after his rescue from the 6-foot-by-8-foot underground bunker in Midland City, Ala., where he'd been held for almost a week.

The kidnapping came to a dramatic end on Feb. 4, when federal agents threw stun grenades into the bunker and traded shots with Dykes, who had also hidden bombs inside the underground shelter, officials said.

ABC News also obtained a portion of the interview in which Kirkland says, "He has said a few things now, I know he has had a very hard time sleeping soundly. He slings his arms, and tosses and turns. He's cried out a few times."

Dr. Phil told ABC News that Ethan hasn't been back to school yet and that buses still disturb him. ABC News reported that Dr. Phil's foundation had also "made a financial contribution" for the boy's upbringing.

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