As the hostage crisis enters its 6th day, more details have been released about Jimmy Lee Dykes, the 65-year-old man who assaulted a school bus in Midland, Alabama, killed the driver and kidnapped a 6-year-old student.
Authorities say that they have maintained an open line of dialogue with Dykes, who has made it a priority to keep the child as comfortable as possible. Dykes has allowed the child to recieve comfort items like food, toys, and medicine, as well as to watch TV.
Here is the latest additional information we have about Dykes:
- He grew up in the Dothan area, and lives off a dirt road on the U.S. Highway leading to Montgomery, Alabama, roughly 80 miles away.
- Midland City Council member Mel Adams says that he has known Dykes since the age of 3, but that he had fallen out with his family over an unknown dispute in which Dykes "had told part of his family to go to hell."
- Dykes' sister is in a nursing home. Other members of his family have been instructed by laywers not to discuss the case with the press.
- Dykes served in the U.S. Navy from 1964 to 1969 during Vietnam, earing the Vietnam Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. Neighbors described him as exhibiting symptoms related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but it is unknown if there is any relation to the incident and his military service.
- He was arrested two times: once in Florida in 1995 for improper exhibition of a weapon, and once in 2000 for marijuana possession.
- Dykes is a survivalist who bought a white trailer from FEMA after Hurricane Katrina and stocked it with emergency supplies. He stripped all of the trees from his property and surrounded it with a wire fence.
- He beat a neighbors' dog to death with a lead pipe and repeatedly threatened others for violating what he considered his property rights.
- He exhibited odd behavior, such as hunting small game and birds late in the morning and constructing the bunker where the child is held late at night out of plywood and other materials.
- Odd political beliefs are an understatement; Dykes was an anti-government extremist with paranoid tendencies and who believed in conspiracy theories.
Neighbor Michael Creel said Dykes was a loner who listened to political talk radio.
"He was very into what's going on with the nation and the politics and all the laws being made. The things he didn't agree with, he would ventilate," Creel said.
James Arrington, police chief of neighboring town Pinckard, said that "[Dykes is] against the government, starting with Obama on down."
Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, said that Dykes had "probably not" intended to conduct a copycat massacre.
"He had a whole bus load full of kids, and he could have walked up there and shot the whole crowd of them," he said.
"I think he's just a really angry and bitter guy with some anger management issues," Dees said. "He is just against everything - the government and his neighbors."