MIDLAND CITY, AL (CBS) - A week-long hostage standoff is over. A young boy is safe and his suspected kidnapper is dead.
FBI agents shook hands and patted each other's backs shortly after storming an underground bunker to safe the 5-year-old boy held hostage for seven days. The boy, named Ethan, has been reunited with his family at a local hospital, and is said to be doing well. Steve Richardson, FBI Special Agent in Charge, says, "He's laughing, joking, playing, eating - the things you'd expect a normal 5 or 6 year old young man to do."
The suspect, 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, is dead. Officials say they made the decision to raid the bunker after Dykes began pacing and holding his gun. Richardson says, "At this point, FBI agents, fearing for the safety of the child, entered the bunker and rescued the child."
The news that Ethan is safe and unharmed came as a relief to the people here in Midland City. Sheriff Wally Olson says, "He's a very special child who's been through a lot."
Terrica Singletary was on the bus with Ethan when Dykes grabbed him. She says, "Happy, relieved and just...Hallelujah. Just happy."
It's believed Dykes may have taken the boy hostage in order to air some grievances. Olson says, "Based on our discussion with Dykes, he feels like he has a story that's important to him although it's very complex."
Authorities have not yet revealed how Dykes died, nor any further details of the raid. Ethan will celebrate his sixth birthday tomorrow.