UPDATE 10:06 A.M.
From Donny Bynum, Superintendent, Dale County Schools:
Immediate Press Release
All of Charles Poland`s children are home now! Our God is so good and we thank all of the prayer warriors in our community, state, and world for their continued prayers.
We thank Mr. Charles Poland for the ultimate sacrifice, when all the information from this tragic event is revealed; we will clearly see a mighty man of God!
We would like to thank the local, state, & federal agencies that worked tirelessly to bring this situation to an end. We are also thankful to our community for coming together in a time of need. The outpouring of love and support is unmatched anywhere.
I want to personally thank our education families for coming together during this extremely difficult time. Please continue to pray for the Poland family, Ethan’s family, our students, faculty, and staff as we move forward.
Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson, Steve Richardson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Mobile, Alabama Office will hold a press conference at 9:00 PM to provide additional details on this afternoon's law enforcement activity.
At approximately 3: 12 this afternoon, FBI Special Agents safely recovered the child who has been held hostage for nearly a week. Within the past 24 hours, negotiations deteriorated with Mr. Dykes and he became increasingly agitated. Negotiators observed Dykes holding a weapon.
At this point, FBI Agents fearing the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child. The child appears physically unharmed and is being treated at a local hospital. The suspect is deceased.
Right now, FBI Special Agent Bomb Technicians are in the process of clearing the property for improvised explosive devices. When it is safe to do so, our evidence response teams, paired with state and local crime scene technicians, will process the scene.
The resolution of this matter is the direct result of extraordinary collaboration of law enforcement at all levels. The exhaustive efforts and dedication of this community’s law enforcement is truly exemplary. I want to thank the entire community for its support
We hope to provide additional details at a press briefing later this evening.
ROBY: “I thank God that Ethan is safe”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Martha Roby released the following statement after confirmation from federal, state and local authorities that the hostage situation in Midland City, Alabama has ended with the safe rescue of the child and the death of the kidnapper.
“I thank God that Ethan is safe and that this terrible situation is finally over,” Rep. Roby said. “From first learning of the shooting and kidnapping while in the Wiregrass last week, to talking with the boy’s mother just this weekend, my family and I have been praying for Ethan’s safe return home. As a mother of two young children, it is especially horrifying to imagine what fear Ethan and his family have been living in this past week.
“While we rejoice over the child’s safety, let’s also remember and honor the heroism of Charles Poland Jr., the bus driver who bravely stood between this attacker and the children in his care. Mr. Poland’s courage may have cost him his life, but it probably saved the lives of many others. We also thank the many law enforcement officers – local, state and federal – who have tirelessly worked around the clock for almost a week to rescue this little boy.
“Senseless doesn’t begin to describe this individual’s actions. I pray that the terror he sought to inflict will be ceaselessly overcome by the outpouring of love, hope and kindness we’ve continued to see from Dale County, Alabama and around the world.”
MONTGOMERY – Governor Robert Bentley on Monday issued the following statement upon the conclusion of the Dale County hostage situation:
“Shortly after 3:00 p.m., I spoke with Colonel Hugh McCall of the Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier. They informed me that law enforcement had breached the bunker, the child was safe and the abductor was killed.
“I want to thank the law enforcement, first responders and all additional personnel who worked tireless hours to bring this situation to a resolution. They performed heroic efforts, and they should be praised for how they handled themselves in a professional manner.
“I am thankful that the child who was abducted is now safe. I am so happy this little boy can now be reunited with his family and friends. We will all continue to pray for the little boy and his family as they recover from the trauma of the last several days.
“At the same time, we also want to remember the family and friends of the bus driver – Charles Poland, Junior. This man was a true hero who was willing to give up his life so others might live. We are all inspired by his courage and bravery.
“I ask everyone across the state – and the nation – to continue to lift up these families and the entire Midland City community in your prayers.”
Officials have confirmed that Jimmy Lee Dykes is Dead and child is safe. WTVY News 4 will have more information as it becomes available.