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February 5th, 2013
11:09 AM ET

Moving forward after trauma: Psychologist Rebecca Bailey on challenges 5-year-old Ethan and family face moving forward

Monday afternoon in Midland City, Alabama, a kindergartner was reunited with his family after spending nearly a week as a hostage in an underground bunker.

The 5-year-old boy, identified only as Ethan, was taken hostage by 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes who boarded the boy’s school bus last Tuesday and shot and killed the driver, Charles Poland Jr. After negotiations between law enforcement officials and Dykes deteriorated the FBI stormed the underground bunker and rescued Ethan. Dykes was killed, although authorities have not reported how exactly. The kindergartner who reportedly has Asperger's syndrome and ADHD is said to be okay, at least physically and will get to spend his sixth birthday safe with his family tomorrow.

This morning, psychologist Rebecca Bailey talks about the challenges of reuniting loved ones after trauma on “Starting Point.” She describes what Ethan and his family will face moving forward.

Baile=y, who worked with kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard, says reports of Ethan laughing and joking after being reunited with his family are “wonderful signs and a testament also of the human spirit.”

“Frequently we expect situations where the victim comes out in the same way that the traumatized people are at watching and waiting and hoping. So this is a very good sign,” she says.

Bailey does emphasize that every family and every situation is different.

“Certainly there will be memories and certainly this family and this child has been obviously affected by this traumatic experience but as the days go on and time unfolds we’ll find out more of what the child needs, what the family needs,” she says.

In the case where an abducted child has siblings, Bailey says it is extremely important to remember that their lives have been touched as well. She adds that “what we need to see in the next week, two weeks is the family pulling together.” Bailey says that as the family celebrates Ethan’s successful and safe return, “some of the shock will begin to wear off.”

Filed under: Abduction • Alabama • Crime
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