UK & World News
Child Hostage: Cops Ready For Long Stand-Off
A young boy is in his fourth day of being held hostage by an armed man suspected of shooting dead a school bus driver in a small Alabama town.
Police are warning there are signs that the stand-off at a rural property in Midland City is far from over.
Negotiators have been speaking into a 4ins-wide ventilation pipe leading into the underground bunker where 65-year-old retired truck driver Jimmy Lee Dykes is holed up with the five-year-old captive.
James Arrington, police chief of the neighbouring town of Pinckard, said the storm shelter was about 4ft underground with about 6-by-8ft of floor space. It is equipped with electricity, food and a TV.
"It's pretty small, but he's been known to stay in there eight days," he said.
"He will have to give up sooner or later because (authorities) are not leaving."
Officials have confirmed the boy has Asperger's and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
Police have been delivering medication to him through the pipe.
"The three past days have not been easy on anybody," Sheriff Wally Olson said at a news briefing late on Thursday night.
He said authorities were still communicating with the suspect, and that their primary goal was to get the boy home safely.
"There's no reason to believe the child has been harmed," he said.
Local politician Steve Clouse said the boy's mother is "hanging on by a thread".
"Everybody is praying with her for the boy," he added.
Dykes is known around the small town of around 2,300 people as a menacing figure.
He once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, they alleged, and threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property.
Chief Olson confirmed that the suspect holds anti-government views.
"He's against the government - starting with Obama on down," he said.
"He doesn't like law enforcement or the government telling him what to do. He's just a loner."
Authorities say the gunman boarded a school bus on Tuesday afternoon and demanded two boys aged between six and eight.
When the 66-year-old bus driver, Charles Albert Poland tried to block his way, the suspect shot him several times and took the five-year-old instead.
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