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The Extraordinary FBI Operation to Rescue Five-Year-Old Ethan from Survivalist’s Underground Lair

It took seven days for the covert operation to  come together but with the help of a mock bunker, a spy camera and numerous  training exercises, the rescue of five-year-old Ethan was carried out with  military precision.

It was revealed today how the FBI Hostage  Rescue Team exploded their way into the bunker, dramatically rescuing Ethan and  killing his abductor Jimmy Lee Dykes after a secret high-tech camera alerted  them to the fact the boy’s life was in danger.

Agents became increasingly concerned the  65-year-old’s behavior would turn violent after their negotiations with him  ‘deteriorated’ in the final 24 hours.

FBI Special Agent Steve Richardson said:  ‘Dykes was observed holding a gun.

‘At this point, the FBI agents, fearing the  child was in imminent danger, entered the  bunker and rescued the  child.’

Armed FBI officers walk down a dirt track on the property of Jimmy Lee Dykes – who has died after a stand-off with authorities ended with the rescue of the five-year-old boy he was holding hostage

After almost one week of being held hostage,  Ethan was finally back in his mother’s arms unharmed, smiling and in good  spirits, playing with his toy dinosaur.

Special agent Richardson said: ‘I’ve been to  the hospital. I visited with Ethan. He is doing fine.

‘He’s  laughing, joking, playing, eating, the  things that you would expect a  normal five-to-six-year-old young man to do.  He’s very brave, he’s very  lucky, and the success story is that he’s out safe  and doing great.’

After the raid was complete, FBI bomb  technicians checked the property  for improvised explosive  devices.

Sources told ABCNews the rescue team had been  using the nearby mock bunker to train agents for different scenarios in which  they could get Ethan out.

Military surveillance equipment and personnel  were used during the raid after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta personally  approved its use for the operation.

As well as the FBI, the law enforcement  services of Dale County and Mobile, Alabama, the State Patrol and  Sheriff’s  office have combined to mount the rescue operation under  intense scrutiny and  under a veil of secrecy.

It was also revealed today that Ethan’s  mother asked the FBI not to kill Dykes, a Vietnam war veteran, if they could  help it because she believed he was not a well man.

State Sen Harri Anne Smith revealed: ‘She put  her hand on the officer’s heart and said, “Sir, don’t hurt him. He’s  sick”.’

Ethan is expected to be released from  hospital later today and will go home to his family ready to celebrate his sixth  birthday tomorrow.

His great aunt and uncle spoke to ABC about  the family’s relief that Ethan is back and safe.

Deborah Cooke said: ‘he is so happy to be  home, we all are, and he looks great. His mom said everything is  fine.’

She said her nephew is the kind of boy who  lights up a room whenever he enters it and is always going 90mph. As for Dykes,  the family did not know him personally but believed he was well-known in the  community for having many issues.

The week-long ordeal finally came to a  dramatic conclusion at 3.12pm yesterday.

Speaking last night Sheriff Wally Olson, who  has been on the site almost  constantly since Ethan’s abduction and the shooting  of school bus driver Mr Charles ‘Chuck’ Poland, said: ‘He’s a very special child  who’s  endured a lot and by the grace of God he’s okay.’

He added that, speaking as a parent himself,  ‘It is a relief to reunite a mother with her child.’

That longed-for reunion took place at Flowers  Hospital, where Ethan was  taken following his rescue. He arrived sitting up on  a stretcher.

But the past few days of  Ethan’s life and  those of the many law enforcement officers and friends  and family here in  Midland City, Alabama, have been anything but normal.

The week-long standoff ended when FBI hostage  rescue teams felt they had no choice but to forcibly enter the bunker on his  property and take the boy known only  as Ethan safely out.

An independent team of investigators will be  brought in from Washington, DC, once the site is deemed clear and safe by the  FBI’s bomb disposal experts.

Sheriff Olson would say only that a threat  was perceived and that negotiations which had been ‘civil’ became ‘increasingly  difficult over the past 24 hours’.

Asked if Dykes was armed when killed he said  yes.

Alabama State Senator Harri Anne Smith who  has been in close contact with the family throughout the ordeal said to  MailOnline: ‘Mom has been incredible, she has been so brave and has always known  her son would be brought home safe.

”I know there will be lots of hugs and  kisses tonight,’ she said. ‘She has been  surrounded by people praying and has had a lot of support. Her  father has been a rock to her and her older son and her sisters.’

Dykes was killed during the fast-acting  operation but law enforcement officials have yet to provide details on how he  died.

Federal agents jumped into action after  high-tech but secret video surveillance inserted into the bunker revealed that  the mental state of Richard Lee Dykes was deteriorating rapidly.

A photograph of ‘Ethan’ the five-year-old hostage who was rescued today in Midland City after a week-long ordeal at the hands of survivalist Jimmy Lee Dykes who died during the operation

There were reports of one or two loud bangs  on the property, and a neighbor who lives about a quarter-mile from where Dykes  was holed up said that he heard a boom followed by a gunshot

Another neighbor, 16-year-old Micah Senn, 16,  who lives a few hundred yards away, told AL.com that he heard an explosion  followed by four to five rounds of gunfire.

The boy identified all week only as Ethan was  brought out from the bunker on Dykes’ property appearing to be physically  unharmed and is being treated at a hospital in nearby Dothan authorities said.

Friends of the family have said that Ethan  has Asperger’s Syndrome – a condition which has been likened to a minor form of  autism and which affects a person’s ability to interact with other  people.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Steve Richardson  said during a news conference this afternoon that negotiations had broken down  during the day and Dykes had been seen to grab a gun.

Those actions forced the hand of FBI agents,  who entered the bunker.

Agent Richardson said: ‘At approximately  3.12pm, FBI agents safely recovered the child who was being held hostage for  nearly a week.

‘Within the past 24 hours negotiations  deteriorated and Mr Dykes was observed holding a gun.

‘At this point FBI agents fearing the child  was in imminent danger entered the bunker and rescued the child.

‘The child appears physically unharmed and is  being treated at a local hospital. The subject is deceased.

‘The resolution of the matter is a direct  result of the extraordinary collaboration of law enforcement at all  levels.’

CBS correspondents John Miller and Bob Orr  confirmed the FBI’s Rescue  Hostage Team carried out the rescue when it was  clear the kidnapper’s  mental state was deteriorating — and he began  brandishing a gun.

Source: The Daily Mail

What is Aspergers Syndrome? How was Ethan’s ability to interact  impaired?

Aspergers syndrome is a form of autism which  leaves sufferers fazed with significant difficulties in social interaction,  along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and  interests.

The result is that they  can have difficulty coping with mixing socially, working in certain kinds of  jobs and developing communication skills. They may have problems with  coordinating movements making them appear clumsy.

Unlike  autism there are no significant delays in language development, people have  normal intellect and have normal abilities to help themselves. They can adapt to  different situations providing these do not rely on social  interaction.

Asperger’s syndrome  appears to be more prevalent in males. It seems to start later than autism or at  least is recognised later. Most children are diagnosed between five and nine  years of age. There may be a close relative with a similar  disorder.

Although speech  development is not delayed there is a tendency to lapse into long detailed talk  about topics which may not appear interesting to the  listener.

Children with Asperger’s  may be solitary and emotionally detached, unable to enjoy joining in ‘give and  take’ games or group activities with other children.

Although  they may appear on the surface to be imaginative and creative they may tend to  become obsessed with one particular system of ideas, which may dominate their  activities and thoughts for many months or years at a time.

If they are lucky this behaviour will simply be  regarded as quirky eccentricities by peers. Unfortunately some children with  Asperger’s syndrome can be mercilessly teased.

It  is not easy to diagnose Asperger’s syndrome. Children may be wrongly diagnosed  with other neurological disorders such a Tourette’s syndrome or  autism.

 

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Posted by on February 5, 2013. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.