Alabama standoff: Family relieved 5-year-old hostage is safe

Ethan, the five-year-old kidnapped and held in a bunker for several days, in a photo provided to CBS News by his family.
Ethan, the five-year-old kidnapped and held in an Alabama bunker for six days, in a photo provided to CBS News by his family.
CBS News/Personal Photo

(CBS/AP) MIDLAND CITY, Ala. - A 5-year-old boy was back with his family after his nearly week-long ordeal as a hostage in an underground bunker was ended by a sudden police raid and the death of his kidnapper, Jimmy Lee Dykes.

The FBI and other law enforcement officials did not offer many details about how they made the call to rush in and what happened inside the closet-sized hideout on a rural Alabama property, where the boy had been held by Dykes. But relatives said there was no question about the relief they feel.

"If I could, I would do cartwheels all the way down the road," the boy's great-aunt, Debra Cook, told ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday. "We'd all been walking around in a fog."

She said the boy was happy and playing with his old toys. "He was having the biggest time," Cook said.

After FBI agents determined that talks with an increasingly agitated Dykes were breaking down, they stormed the shelter Monday afternoon and freed the kindergartner. The 65-year-old armed captor was killed by law enforcement agents, an official told The Associated Press.

The boy was reunited with his mother and taken to a hospital to be checked out. Officials have said he has Asperger's syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

FBI agent Steve Richardson of the agency's office in Mobile said he saw the child at the hospital and he was laughing, joking, eating and "doing the things you'd expect a normal 5- or 6-year-old to do."

The boy turns six on Wednesday, according to CBS affiliate WKRG.

Complete coverage of the Alabama standoff on Crimesider

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