In a press conference held late Monday, federal authorities officially confirmed that the Alabama hostage situation involving a 5-year-old boy has been brought to an end.
At the conference, authorities reported that negotiations with Jimmy Lee Dykes, the retired truck driver who kidnapped the boy and kept him in an underground bunker for seven days, deteriorated in the preceding 24 hours and that Dykes was spotted with a gun. Law enforcement entered the bunker shortly after 3 p.m. ET Monday to rescue the boy, who's being identified only by his first name, Ethan.
Ethan, who reportedly has Asperger's syndrome, is alive and unharmed and has been moved to a hospital in nearby Dothan, Alabama. Authorities say Dykes is dead.
In a statement, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said, “I want to thank the law enforcement, first responders and all additional personnel who worked tireless hours to bring this situation to a resolution. They performed heroic efforts, and they should be praised for how they handled themselves in a professional manner.
“I am thankful that the child who was abducted is now safe. I am so happy this little boy can now be reunited with his family and friends. We will all continue to pray for the little boy and his family as they recover from the trauma of the last several days."
Dykes abducted the boy from a school bus and allegedly killed the driver, 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland. Poland reportedly tried to stop Dykes and was celebrated by hundreds at a memorial service in Ozark, Ala. on Sunday.
According to CNN, President Obama called FBI Director Robert Mueller to compliment him for the role federal law enforcement officers played in resolving the hostage situation in Alabama and thanked all the law enforcement officials involved during the nearly week long ordeal for their roles in the successful rescue of the child.