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Alabama kidnapper, who had bombs, reportedly died in shootout

The exterior of an Alabama bunker where FBI agents shot and killed a man who'd taken a 5-year-old boy hostage.
(FBI)

The man who kidnapped a 5-year-old Alabama boy and held him hostage reportedly died in a shootout with rescuers and had bombs in his bunker.

CBS News, citing unidentified officials, reported Tuesday night that four rescuers entered Jimmy Lee Dykes’ bunker in Midland City, Ala., after surprising him with two stun grenades during a planned supply drop Monday. Officials said Dykes fired an errant shot and was then shot multiple times.

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CBS also reported that Dykes, 65, had kidnapped the boy in hopes of spreading his anti-federal government message, and had spent his last days negotiating for an interview with a TV reporter.

For almost a week, Dykes had held the 5-year-old, named Ethan, in an underground bunker where, officials said Tuesday night, he had also hidden two bombs.

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FBI Special Agent Jason Pack told the Associated Press via email that one bomb had been concealed inside a 4-inch ventilation pipe, which had become a lifeline for the boy. Officials used the pipe to send Ethan medication, food and toys. The other bomb was in the bunker, the AP reported.

Officials have said that they had been watching Dykes surreptitiously with a video camera they’d slipped into the bunker, but have not disclosed details.

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CBS reported that officials could see and hear what Dykes was doing inside the bunker.

When reached by the Los Angeles Times, Douglas Astralaga, chief division counsel and a spokesman for the FBI, would neither confirm nor deny CBS News’ reporting.

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The FBI also released four images of the bunker’s exterior and surroundings Tuesday evening.

Ethan was recovering at home Tuesday, where officials said his spirits were up. Wednesday is his 6th birthday.

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matt.pearce@latimes.com

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