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Alabama Hostage Situation Finally Ends: Help send hostage to Disney World!

The hostage situation in Midland City, Alabama came to a close on Monday afternoon after 6 days. Ethan, who was kidnapped when Jimmy Lee Dykes boarded his school bus, killing the bus driver, will be celebrating his sixth birthday at home with his family and likely many others.

On Monday, January 28, Dykes boarded a school bus while it was delivering school children home after school. He tried to grab two boys, but the bus driver, Charles Poland, intervened. Dykes shot Polond, killing him; then grabbed Ethan and took him to an underground bunker on Dykes’ property where he had been holding him ever since.

Authorities stormed the bunker on Monday afternoon after the situation with Dykes had deteriorated. Dykes had been contentious with authorities from the beginning, but conversations had deteriorated rapidly. Law enforcement officials had slid a camera into the hideout, so they were able to see what was going on inside. Their view indicated that Dykes still had a gun. The FBI hostage rescue team practiced on a nearby mockup of the bunker until Dykes’ declining mental state forced them to proceed to storm the bunker. When the FBI team entered the bunker, Dykes immediately started firing shots. The hostage team returned fire and Dykes suffered multiple gunshot wounds, ultimately leading to his death.

Law enforcement officials began searching the bunker on Tuesday, finding two bombs. One was in the bunker itself; while the other was in the PVC pipe authorities had been using to communicate with Dykes. Authorities continue to search the bunker.

Ethan’s mom released a statement describing their reunion. “I can’t describe how incredible it is to hold him again. Ethan is safe and back in my arms – and I owe it all to some of the most compassionate people on Earth.” Aaron Poland, Charles Poland’s son, was also grateful for Ethan’s safe return, indicating that Ethan’s safe return made him feel like his dad’s final route was finished, stating “Ethan was home with his mom. My dad’s key job was to make sure that every child was delivered safely to their parents.”

Ethan’s birthday is February 6; and Midland City, Alabama wanted to make sure it would be a birthday to remember. The city is planning a massive birthday party and is trying to find a place large enough to hold it. They did not think they would be able to pull it off by Wednesday, but they were hoping to hold it at the high school football stadium. The city had planned a vigil for Monday night, which turned into a celebration. While there, children signed an oversized birthday card. Philip Parker, principal of Midland City Elementary, stated that more than 1,200 other cards came in from across the nation. The community also started an online campaign to raise $7,000 to send Ethan and his family to Disney World. Click Here to donate

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