Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson on rescue of 5-year-old Ethan after he was held captive for a week in a bunker in Ala.
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.”
The hostage standoff in Alabama came to an end yesterday when FBI officials say negotiations broke down with 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, the abductor of a five-year-old boy taken off a school bus last Tuesday. Dykes is now dead. The FBI rescued that five-year-old hostage named "Ethan" from an underground bunker in Midland City, Alabama. Ethan returns home just in time to celebrate his sixth birthday tomorrow.
Alicia Kozakiewicz is someone who has some insight into what that little boy suffered. She survived a terrifying abduction when she was 13-years-old. Now 24-years-old, she runs "The Alicia Project," an advocacy group. Alicia comes to “Starting Point” to share her experience and explain how Ethan’s parents and the community should approach him now that he has been rescued.
Alicia says she couldn’t believe she was being rescued when the FBI had come for her, but thought that they were others coming to hurt her.
“I didn't notice and I didn’t realize that I was being rescued until one of them actually turned around and I saw FBI on the back of their jackets,” Alicia says. “And I still questioned, is this real? Am I actually being rescued? Is this just a dream? And it took really until I was home with my parents to feel that.”
Alicia shares how Ethan’s family can similarly help him heal and adjust back to life. She says the key is to keep things normal.
“That’s what we have to do for this little boy. Keep certain things as normal as possible,” she says. “Things like just basic routines that he had done before..his favorite games, his favorite movies, his favorite food...just try to keep an anchor in the before. And really not equate this with this happening to him. This happened to him, it is not who he is.”