Alabama hostage crisis: Military trucks reportedly bring bulldozers

Heavy equipment has been spotted heading toward the Alabama bunker site where a small boy is still being held hostage. Photo: (US Army) File photo of bulldozers

DOTHAN, AL, February 2, 2013 — A credible source near the location of the week-long Alabama hostage crisis reports seeing at least two military flat-bed trucks transporting massive bull-dozers toward the site where Jimmy Lee Dykes is holding a five-year-old boy hostage in a bunker. It appears the US Army or the National Guard has been called in for some heavy duty earth-moving work. Authorities have been very tight-lipped and still are not giving out much information other than to report each day there is no change in the situation.

That bunker is in an area known as Midland City, and the property where Dykes is holding his hostage sits near a major road, State Highway 231, also known as Mongtomery Highway.

A short time later the eyewitness, a former newspaper reporter, observed a large, square-shaped, black heavy rescue unit heading toward the hostage site as well. She indicated that the truck looked similar to the type Homeland Security used when giving safety demonstrations at local schools a few months ago. There was no name on the truck, but it was not local equipment. While this is unconfirmed, it appears that there may be a buildup of resources going on at the hostage site today. 

The homemade bunker is small. It was constructed from a large shipping container that Sykes buried and lined with brick. He then created cinder block steps going down into the shelter and added a door made out of double sheets of plywood. The door is reportedly covered over with earth, and a 4-inch wide PVC pipe was laid underground to the outside so he could hear anyone approaching. That is how authorities have been able to communicate with Sykes and get medicine inside to the boy.

Artist’s illustrations of the bunker have been posted as part of the related Backstory on The bunker itself is located in a fairly open area unobstructed by trees or large objects. Given the flat landscape, it might be possible to use the huge earth movers to scrape the top off the bunker and insert troopers. It seems unlikely they would try to dig up the entire unit since that could destroy the structural integrity of the bunker itself and badly hurt the occupants.

From every angle this is a dangerous situation that leaves authorities with few options. Much credit goes to everyone trying to save little Ethan. All those involved in the effort to resolve this situation have shown superhuman patience and endurance in regard to his safety, but there is a growing sense of frustration over Dykes’ refusal to come out. The FBI noted yesterday that he simply refuses to budge no matter how they approach him. So today’s spotting of heavy earth movers may be the last option available.

(Get The Backstory and more at Rick’s author blog

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Rick Townley

Rick Townley was a bookseller before switching to electronic publishing with The New York Times, Reuters, Grolier and others. He is the author of a humor book, For Boomers Only – Exploring Life in the New Millennium, a supernatural novel, Stepping Out of Time, and numerous short stories. In addition to contributing to the Washington Times Communities, Rick is working on a fiction series called Stigma and resides in southern Alabama with his 7-year-old granddaughter, Chloe.


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