Jimmy Lee Dykes, the 65-year-old Vietnam vet suspected of shooting a school bus driver then taking a 5-year-old hostage and keeping him in an underground bunker, has been thanked by Alabama authorities. Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson spoke to reporters yesterday and expressed his gratitude for the way Dykes is treating Ethan, his young captive with Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD. Today marks the sixth day of negotiations.
The lines of communication between FBI officials and Dykes have remained open, but nevertheless, details on the situation are still scarce.
All we know so far is that authorities are "pleased" with the way Dykes is caring for Ethan, but truly, who knows if the compliment is a ploy to boost the hostage-taker's ego and/or a mind game which plays to the suspect's state of mind. It's believed Dykes has access to the media coverage surrounding his situation -- perhaps police are trying to appeal to the mad man's inflated sense of self.
That said, Dykes is, in fact, treating Ethan well, considering the circumstances. Through a tube, Dykes has allowed authorities to funnel Ethan his medication, some coloring books, toys and even potato chips. The bunker, five feet underground, is allegedly heated and contains blankets.
Residents of Midland City, Alabama have gathered to host a vigil in Ethan's honor to show their support for the family -- Ethan's mother, understandably, is hanging on by a thread.
Tomorrow will be the seventh day of the stand-off between officials and the "anti-government" man with a child in a bunker. But even after a week, we still don't know very much about Dykes' motives or what he wants.
What everyone else wants, though, is a safe Ethan back in the arms of his family.
What are your thoughts on this horrifying story?