Cops: Freed Alabama Boy 'Laughing, Playing'
Ethan reunited with mother after bunker ordeal
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2013 12:42 AM CST
Federal and local law enforcement officers gather at their trucks after the hostage crisis ended in Midland City, Alabama.   (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)

(Newser) – The 5-year-old Alabama boy freed in a raid that ended in kidnapper Jimmy Lee Dykes' death has been reunited with his mother after his weeklong ordeal in an underground bunker. Hours after the rescue, Ethan was "laughing, joking, playing, eating—the things that you would expect a normal 5- to 6-year-old young man to do," an FBI spokesman says. "He’s very brave. He’s very lucky." The successful rescue sparked celebrations in neighboring communities and celebratory church services are planned, the Dothan Eagle reports.

Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson says the FBI decided to move in after Dykes was seen holding a gun, raising fears that the boy's life was in imminent danger. "I’m a father," Olson says. "It is a relief for us to be able to reunite a mother with her child." The sheriff paid tribute to the school bus driver who was shot dead trying to protect children after Dykes boarded his bus. Authorities have declined to discuss Dykes' motive or to go into much detail about the rescue operation. "Unfortunately, we will have to deal with another one of these some day," the FBI spokesman says.

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Feb 5, 2013 12:06 PM CST
I suppose the 5 year old will write a book and a made for TV movie will follow?
Feb 5, 2013 11:48 AM CST
Why didnt they just gas the bunker and get this guy out? Problems with mental health in the country have made it even more ridiculous that oblackma is trying to leave us disarmed and defensless against scum like this. More gun free zones puting lives at risk.
Feb 5, 2013 9:06 AM CST
If you haven't got the chance yet, I recommend reading the full article. It's filled with more information that will help understand the ordeal. This is an excellent example of a great job done by the cops and response teams. Considering the situation it was a good outcome. Many many things could have gone wrong and hurt the boy. The mom even told them not to kill Dykes that he was sick and needed help. I can't even begin to imagine myself in that situation, but for her to say that, wow what a compassionate and caring person. Glad to see the family got their son back.