• Fri, Feb 1 2013

‘Please Release Ethan’ – Vigil Held For Autistic 5-Year-Old Held Hostage In Alabama

twitter bunkerWe finally have more information about the child being held in the underground bunker after the school bus shooting in Alabama and none of this will make you feel any better, and if you are anything like me, this will just break your heart more.

The little guy is not six as previously reported, he is just five-years-old. He also has autism. His mom calls him “Love Bug.” His name is Ethan.

I barely remember being five. We know Ethan has medication and coloring books and crayons sent down the pvc tube by rescue workers. We know he has access to a television. And we know he has spent four days away from his parents. I want to believe that at age five he is easily distracted, and that there is grace to be found in his innocence. Maybe he is okay, and not as frightened as I imagine him to be. Maybe he is just coloring, his crayons straying from the pre-made lines as cartoons play in the background. Maybe he thinks it is an adventure, being held in this underground lair, this four by six foot bunker. I can’t stand thinking of him scared, or crying. I can’t fathom what his poor parents are going through.

Jimmy Lee Dykes, the 65-year-old who stormed the school bus and planned to take two children hostage , was due in court for pointing a gun at his neighbors. Described as being “paranoid” and a “survivalist” who holds “anti-American views.” He beat one of his neighbor’s dogs to death with a lead pipe. Animal control spoke with Dykes but nothing because of the incident. A Vietnam veteran, Dykes built the underground shelter himself. From The Daily Mail:

‘It’s the craziest thing. He will be outside in his yard digging dirt at 2.30 in the morning,’ Mr Davis told the Eagle.

Dykes harbors ‘anti-American’ and ‘anti-government’ views, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He cut down all of the trees on his property, so he could see anyone who approached his house. He also ringed the boarder of his land in barbed wire.

Added Mr Creel: ‘He’s the type that thinks the government’s out to get him. He’s not right in the head.’

The bus driver who was killed when Dykes pulled Ethan from the school bus was Charles Poland, 66. His wife and surviving children describe him as a man who loved children, who everybody loved. A candlelight vigil was held last night to honor the heroic Poland, and to pray for Ethan’s safe return.

This is all we know at this moment, and all I know is that Ethan needs to go home. Updates as we get them.

(photo: twitter)

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  • meg

    “He cut down all of the trees on his property, so he could see
    anyone who approached his house. He also ringed the boarder of his land
    in barbed wire.”

    This is two things: one, a classic procedure used frequently in the Vietnam war, and two … not to arm chair diagnose, but I wonder if PTSD/paranoid schizophrenia secondary to trauma are factors here?

    • K.

      Arm-chair diagnosis is enshrined in the Internet Bill of Rights :)

      Whatever it is, definitely not normal behavior. Very sad that this gentleman lived his life in that kind of stress and fear; very sad that his neighbors had to deal with him; horrific that it’s come to a head like this.

      I hope Ethan is alive.