The horrific nightmare started yesterday afternoon when an Alabama man, who has been identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, boarded a school bus and demanded two children. The bus driver refused, and Dykes allegedly shot him dead, and then took a 5-year-old boy with him. He headed to an underground bunker on his rural property, and there they have been ever since in a standoff with law officers.
It's now been more than 24 hours, and it's impossible to even begin to imagine what this boy's parents must be feeling as they sit by helpless as their son is down there with this madman, and the hours drag on and on. State Rep. Steve Clouse told CNN that the boy has Asperger's Syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and that police have managed to get some needed prescription medicine to him through a PVC pipe that feeds into the bunker, but that is surely little comfort to the family. Clouse said they are "holding on by a thread."
The randomness of this crime makes it all the more terrifying, as Dykes apparently has no connection to the boy. He simply got up and went to school one day, and the next he was being ripped off his bus by a violent man for no apparent reason.
Neighbors paint a portrait of Dykes as an angry and violent man. According to CBS, neighbors say he was a "menacing figure who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property, and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a shotgun." He was supposed to be in court this morning for charges that he shot at a neighbor because of a disagreement over a speed bump. The thought of a child being alone for five seconds with someone like that is horrifying. This boy has been there more than a day, and there's no sign as I write this that things will end anytime soon.
I keep checking the news hoping that he'll just send the boy out. Dykes can stay down in that bunker until he rots for all I care, but keeping the boy in there with him is just unfathomable. We can only hope that he's treating the boy well, and do as Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson told reporters he encouraged people to do, "Pray, pray."
Does this story make you frightened to let your child take the school bus?
Image via bsabarnowl/Flickr
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside