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Talks continue in Alabama bunker standoff

  • Gunman holds 5-year-old captive in underground bunker
  • Lawmaker: Boy has received daily medication, coloring books
Alabama standoff

Authorities continue to negotiate with a man who killed a school bus driver and took a 5-year-old boy captive in an underground bunker in Alabama.

Police say the suspect, who neighbors have identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, took the boy off a bus Tuesday in Midland City after fatally shooting the bus driver, 66-year-old Charles Poland. According to news reports, Poland tried to stop the gunman from taking the children on the bus when he was shot.

At a press conference Wednesday, Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said there is no reason to believe the child has been harmed and hostage negotiators are still talking with the suspect.

Police have been talking with Dykes through a pipe connected to the bunker. According to Alabama State Rep. Steve Clouse, who is in contact with the boy's family, the child has Aspergers Syndrome and ADDH. Authorities were able to send the boy's daily medication down the pipe.

Clouse said the boy also received his coloring books, which he asked for this morning. Clouse said he has been told that the bunker has electricity and television.

Clouse said the boy's family is "holding on by a thread," and has not gotten much sleep over the last 24 hours.

Dykes apparently had a court hearing scheduled for a menacing charge over a different incident in December. But it is unclear what, if any, role that plays in this situation.

Neighbors say he has been working on the underground bunker for some time and may have enough food stored down there to last several months. 

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