MIDLAND CITY, Ala. — As an Alabama standoff and hostage drama marked a sixth day Sunday, more details emerged about the suspect at the center, with neighbors and officials painting a picture of an isolated man estranged from his family.
Authorities say Jim Lee Dykes, 65 — a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War known as Jimmy to neighbors — gunned down a school bus driver and abducted a 5-year-old boy from the bus, taking him to an underground bunker on his rural property. The driver, 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr., was buried Sunday.
Dykes, described as a loner who railed against the government, lives up a dirt road outside this tiny hamlet north of Dothan in the southeast corner of the state. His home is just off the main road north to the state capital of Montgomery.
The FBI said in a statement Sunday that authorities continue to have an open line of communication with Dykes and that they planned to deliver to the bunker additional comfort items such as food, toys and medicine. Officials also said Dykes was making the child as comfortable as possible.
Dykes grew up in the Dothan area. Mel Adams, a Midland City Council member who owns the lot where reporters are gathered, said he has known Dykes since they were ages 3 and 4.
He said Dykes has a sister and a brother, but that he is estranged from his family.
Adams said he didn't know what caused the falling-out, but that he knew Dykes had told part of his family to go to hell.
Michael Creel said Dykes kept to himself and listened to a lot of conservative talk radio.
James Arrington, police chief of the neighboring town of Pinckard, put it differently.
He's against the government, starting with Obama on down, he said.
Morris Dees of Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, a group that tracks hate crimes, said Dykes was not on the group's radar.