New details emerge about Alabama child-hostage standoff

New details emerge about Alabama child-hostage standoff

Credit: AP Photo/AL.com

Dale County Sheriff Wally Olsen answers questions from the media about the close of the hostage crisis during a news conference late Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in Midland City, Ala. Authorities stormed an underground bunker Monday in Midland City, freeing the 5-year-old boy and leaving his captor dead after a week of fruitless negotiations that left authorities convinced the child was in imminent danger. (AP Photo/AL.com, Jay Hare)

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by JAY REEVES and KATE BRUMBACK

Associated Press

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 6 at 1:40 PM

(CBS News) New details have emerged about Jimmy Lee Dykes, the 65-year-old captor of a 5-year-old boy who was in a standoff with the FBI for nearly a week.

CBS News senior correspondent and former FBI assistant director John Miller said that as the FBI Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) and the Dale County Sheriff looked to bring in a "third party intermediary," or TPI, to advance negotiations, it became clear that Dykes had no relationship with his family or neighbors.

"They always look for a TPI. As they negotiate, they can bring in a co-worker or a friend, somebody that the hostage-taker likes and respect. Sometimes that can help move things along," Miller explained Wednesday on "CBS This Morning."

"And with Jimmy Lee Dykes, they found there was no TPI," he continued, "...They said, 'he has no friends.' The closest thing he had to a friend was Charlie Poland and that was the bus driver who he killed."

"They wanted what we call a TPI just in case there came a point when we thought introducing a non-law enforcement voice was the way to go in the negotiations", said a source familiar with the events as they unfolded inside the Tactical Operations Center set up near the siege. "The odd part," said the source, "is that the Sheriff's deputies came back and said, there is no one who says they have a relationship with this guy. The closest thing he had to a friend was Charlie Poland, the bus driver he had just killed."

Poland -- who has been hailed as a hero for protecting nearly two dozen other children on the bus -- reportedly delivered a gift of eggs and jam to Dykes' trailer several days before the incident, as a thank you for Dykes' work shoveling a narrow road so that Poland could make a three-point turn on his bus route.

However, according to Miller, Poland's gesture did little to stop Dykes from carrying through on a promise to shoot Poland if he did not hand over two children.

The security footage from the bus reveals that the exchange was not fast-moving, as authorities expected it to be, but rather "unfolds over minutes," Miller said. "He comes on the bus and he knows the bus driver...he says, 'I want two children.'"

However, the eventual hostage, Ethan, was in the front seat, and "he just freezes," Miller said. "Then for the next few minutes Dykes is saying, 'I'm taking this boy with me,' and Charlie Poland is saying, 'No you're not.'"

"You can tell in the video that the driver is frightened but he stands his ground," Miller added.

Several minutes into the exchange, Dykes followed through on his threat to kill Poland for not cooperating and took Ethan to the bunker where they were holed up for several days.

According to Miller, Dykes' primary demand throughout the negotiation was to be on television and be allowed to tell his story, although it was not entirely clear just what that story was. Authorities do know that he disliked both local and federal government but he did not explicitly reveal the message he was looking to deliver. At one point, Dykes reportedly offered to trade his hostage for a local female television reporter who would interview him.

"That was a non-starter," said a law enforcement official who was at the command post during the incident. Hostage come out but new ones do not go in."

Dykes reportedly left a letter behind, but sources said neither the rambling document, nor his conversations with negotiators ever revealed a clear agenda or insights as to his motive, other than his hatred for the federal government.

And while his primary demand was to appear on television and he had a TV in the bunker, "He wasn't really even watching the news on his TV down there," said a source who was on scene for most of the seven-day hostage situation. "He mostly let the boy watch children's shows".

Victim and witness specialists from the FBI and the Department of Justice are working together with Dale County and Alabama state officials to develop a comprehensive plan to provide immediate and long-term psychological care -- not just for Ethan, who celebrated his sixth birthday the day after he was freed -- but also for the nearly twenty other children who were on the bus.

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