MIDLAND CITY, Ala. — After four anxious days, only the slimmest of details has come to light in a police standoff with an Alabama man who is accused of holding a 5-year-old boy hostage in a bunker, a sign of just how delicate the negotiations are.
Police have used a ventilation pipe in the underground bunker to talk to the man and deliver the boy medication for his emotional disorders, but they have not revealed how often they are in touch or what the conversations have been about.
Authorities waited until Friday to confirm what so many in this age of instant communication already knew: The man accused of killing a school bus driver and abducting the boy Tuesday was Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, a Vietnam-era veteran who was known to neighbors as a menacing figure.
Authorities said Dykes boarded a stopped school bus filled with children and demanded two boys between 6 and 8 years old. When the driver tried to block his way, the gunman shot him several times and took the 5-year-old boy.