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Everything You Need To Know About The Alabama Bunker Hostage Crisis

It's now been two days since an "anti-government" Vietnam veteran barricaded himself and the child. The family “hold[s] on by a thread."

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The crisis began Tuesday afternoon in Midland City — population 2,300 — when a man believed to be Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, boarded a school bus, shot the driver and took off with a child.

Dykes' motive is still unclear, though on Wednesday, he missed a court hearing for a misdemeanor charge of menacing, which he was arrested for on Dec. 22. (He spent four days in jail.)


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Pictured: Destiny Church, the scene of a shooting and hostage taking.


"He's not right in the head," one neighbor said. He once beat another neighbor's dog to death with a lead pipe. He walks around at night with a flashlight and a shotgun. He's a Vietnam veteran who has PTSD and doesn't trust the government.

The boy — reportedly named Ethan — was given medicine he needed, a box of crayons and a coloring book. But state representatives who spoke to Ethan's parents say they are “holding on by a thread."

Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Jessica Testa at

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