Monday 20 October 2014

Bunker hostage boy physically well

Published 06/02/2013 | 05:36

Police and Emergency personnel remain on site at the property of Jimmy Lee Sykes Sunday Feb. 3, 2013 just off Highway 231 north of Dothan, Ala. Suspect Jimmy Lee Dykes has been holed up in a bunker on his property with the a 5-year-old child since the late afternoon shooting on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Signs have posted posted all over Midland City in support of the 5 year old boy being held hostage with many placed around Midland City Elementary school. Area churches offered prayer for the boy, his family and law enforcement officers trying to bring the situation to a peaceful end. (AP Photo/AL.com, Joe Songer)

The grandmother of a five-year-old held hostage for a week in an underground bunker in rural Alabama has said the boy is fine physically, but she fears the ordeal could stay with him the rest of his life.

Betty Jean Ransbottom said the boy, who has just turned six, seemed fine in hospital after his rescue, but the family is not yet sure how he is doing mentally.

The boy was abducted from a school bus last week after 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes shot the driver and took the child back to a bunker on his property.

Authorities raided the shelter after realising that Dykes had a gun, saying he appeared to be increasingly agitated and that negotiations had deteriorated, and he was killed by law enforcement agents.

Mrs Ransbottom said an FBI agent stayed with the family the entire time the boy was being held hostage.

She said she cried herself to sleep every night while the boy was being held hostage, and that she did not sleep much while she awaited news. "It was horrible. I never went through anything so horrible," she said.

The boy's mother, in a statement released by the FBI, expressed her thanks for all the hard work of so many officers to bring her son home.

"For the first time in almost a week, I woke up this morning to the most beautiful sight ... my sweet boy," said the woman, who asked not to be identified. "I can't describe how incredible it is to hold him again."

FBI bomb technicians were continuing to search the property for any explosive devices as officials prepared to collect evidence and more thoroughly study the site, said FBI special agent Jason Pack.

Officials said there was no indication that Dykes had harmed the boy, who has Asperger's syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Dale County coroner Woodrow Hilboldt said officials had not yet removed his body from the underground shelter.

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