All forgiven, says boy hostage's mother

2013-02-14 10:59
Midland City - The mother of an Alabama boy held for days in an underground bunker said in an interview broadcast on Wednesday that she forgave her son's captor early in the standoff and asked authorities not to harm him.

Jennifer Kirkland's son, Ethan Gilman, was a captive for six days in rural Midland City, Alabama, before FBI agents entered the bunker and killed 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes.

Dykes "took care of Ethan to the best of his abilities" by cooking chicken for the boy and asking hostage negotiators to bring the child his favourite toy car, his mother told Dr Phil McGraw in an interview for the Dr Phil Show.

"From the very beginning I had already forgiven Mr Dykes, even though he still had my child," Kirkland said. "...I asked that he not be hurt. But if it came down to it, you know, of course I want my child safe."

Authorities returned Ethan unharmed after a gunbattle in which Dykes, according to a coroner, was shot multiple times. Kirkland said her son, who turned 6 years old just two days after the rescue, told her that he witnessed the shooting.

Members of the rescue team used stun grenades to disorient Dykes, who had a gun and had become agitated with negotiators, before rushing into the bunker, she said.

"They went in and covered Ethan with a vest and they shot Mr Dykes," Kirkland said.

Close relationship

Ethan saw the agents kill his captor, his mother said, just as days earlier he had witnessed Dykes storm onto his school bus and fatally shoot the driver, Charles Albert Poland Jnr.

Poland and Ethan had become close, Kirkland said, as the driver had helped the boy work up the courage to get off the bus by himself.

"Ethan has always been scared of coming down the bus steps," Kirkland said. "And Mr Poland would always cheer him on, you know, 'Come on, little buddy, you can do it'."

Ethan typically sat right behind Poland on the school bus, where the driver could keep an eye on him, Kirkland said.

That's where the boy was sitting the day police say Dykes came aboard the bus armed with a gun and demanding two hostages. Authorities say Poland was shot trying to stand between Dykes and the children.

"The reason I think Ethan was taken off the bus is because when he saw Mr Poland shot, Ethan passed out," Kirkland said. "Mr. Dykes went down to catch him and he picked him up. And I think, in his own way, he was trying to care for him."

After the shooting, authorities say, Dykes fled to the bunker with the child as the standoff opened.

- AP
Read more on:    us
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Beauty

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The virtual world can be very tempting to escape into but focus on also being present and keeping your feet anchored in reality....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.