5-Year-Old Rescued From Underground Bunker Gets the Best Birthday Present of His Life

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Jimmy Lee DykesIt was exactly one week ago today when 65-year-old Vietnam vet Jimmy Lee Dykes stormed a school bus, demanded two children, and shot the heroic bus driver (who tried to defend the children) to death. He took a 5-year-old boy and went to an underground bunker where he held up for six horrible days.

Now Dykes is dead and the boy is safe after the FBI finally stormed the bunker due to sufficient fear that the boy was in imminent danger. Apparently the FBI had a camera in the bunker, though they will not say how they got it there, and saw Dykes with a gun.

Dykes was killed during the raid, allegedly at the hands of the authorities who shot him to death. He is gone and the child is safe. After this, the one question on everyone's mind seems to be: What happens to a child who has been through something like this?

The truth is, no one knows. The boy is said to have a mild form of autism and also suffers from ADHD. During the standoff, authorities passed snacks, toys, coloring books, and his medication into the bunker with Dykes' approval.

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Amazingly, he was rescued two days before his sixth birthday and is already laughing and happily reunited with his parents.

But what he saw can't be unseen. He saw his bus driver shot to death while trying to defend him. He cried for his parents day after day and didn't have those cries answered. He was held by a mad survivalist who may or may not have held a gun near or around him for an entire week.

It's true that he is so young, he may bounce completely back and have no lasting trauma. But it's also possible that he will be haunted by the memories, have bad dreams, and generally be anxious for years to come.

It's impossible to tell. What is clear is that this story has had a much happier ending than most of us had feared. This boy is safe and healthy enough to celebrate turning 6. I am sure in their hearts, his parents feared that he might not get to see this birthday or that he would still be underground. So this is as happy an ending as there could possibly be.

Let's hope that this little boy grows up strong and happy and that the trauma is something that disappears slowly over time.

Did you expect this to be the outcome of this story?


Image via bsabarnowl/Flickr



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Ang9403 Ang9403

Very happy with the outcome of this story. Most of the time its does not have such a happy ending.

Melan... MelanieJK

He's old enough to understand that his parents and school adults weren't able to protect him from this.   He's not old enough to understand the context of how unusual and unlikely it was.     My guess is that he'll definitely suffer anxiety that will be difficult to comfort.     But kids are resilient and the fact that his brain has a lot of developing left should work in his favor.         

SueMN... SueMNanaMama

He's not really old enough to understand that his parents couldn't save him from this.  He will have a lot of issues to work through, and definitely will have PTSD.  I feel so bad for him and his family, to have to go through THIS on top of the developmental issues.  My boy, now 10, was taken by the courts in a totally unfair way, and it took a year-and-a-half and $16,000 to right that wrong.  He has PTSD and separation disorder, on top of ADHD and autism.  He has developed oppositional defiance disorder, as well.  Our hands are full, and some of the psychological problems could have been avoided if not for the selfish actions of the other grandparents and the asininity of one judge.  Not to compare being held in a bunker, but the feelings are, no doubt, very similar.  My kid wanted to go home, and the court wouldn't let him.

grove... groversbabe

im glad he is ok. This happen where i live :( i have a son in school also this makes me so scared now :(

Dianne Olson

I am so glad this little boy is home safe with his parents and in time for his birthday....
I think he will have some trauma as he is so young and the people in his life that are there for him couldn't get to him. Going on a bus or even to bed in a dark room could be scary.
Well wishes to the family!

nonmember avatar erika

SueMNanaMama: Sorry but your boy wasn't stolen from his school bus by a stranger and forced to live underground so while you may feel as though you're right there with this boys parents but you (and the rest of us) have NO idea how this will affect him for the rest of his life.

Conina Johnson

i'm just glad he didn't kill that poor baby. we have had enough bloodshed of our innocent children

Mommi... MommietoJB

I did not think things were going to end up this way, with the boy being saved. I thought why the hell are they taking so long to do something. It must of been terrifying for this little boy to be down there with a crazy murderer for days.

imamo... imamombygrace

Groversbabe...I live here too and I can relate to having anxiety about this being so close to home. When speaking with my oldest about what happened I explaine it luke this: We see accidents on the circle everyday, but it doesn't mean we will get into one. It's a chance, but we can't be scared everytime we get in our van. Same applies going to school. I hope this helps. For Ethan I am so happy he will be spending his birthday with his parents!

Ava Wilson

I'm not actually sure the point of the title. How do you know it's the best birthday of his life? The title gives the impression that like, the community banded together to give him one hell of a birthday because of his ordeal. But you just describe him being safe. I'm sure he's thankful he's not dead, but 'best birthday of his life'? I doubt it.

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