|Ala. Hostage Suspect 'Taking Care of the Boy,' Sheriff Says|
|By ALEXIS SHAW (@ashaw109)||Feb 2, 2013, 8:49 AM|
Alabama police have an "open line of communication" with the retired Alabama trucker who took a 5-year-old autistic boy hostage from a school bus and was holding him in his underground bunker.
"Through our communication, we've been able to -- he's told us that he has electric heaters and some blankets inside, that he's taking care of [the boy]," Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said today.
Olson said he was "limited" in what new information that he could provide, but expressed gratitude for the growing concern regarding the condition of the child.
Meanwhile, a brother and sister who escaped the school bus where Jimmy Lee Dykes took the young boy hostage are speaking out about the standoff and the man who threatened the lives of the children on board.
"I look up and he's talking about threatening to kill us all or something," 14-year-old Terrica Singletary told ABC's "Good Morning America." "He's like, 'I'll kill all y'all, I'll kill y'all, I just want two kids.'"
Singletary and her brother, Tristian, 12, said Dykes boarded the bus on Tuesday and offered the driver what appeared to be broccoli and a note, before demanding two children.
"The bus driver kept saying, 'Just please get off the bus,' and [Dykes] said, 'Ah, all right, I'll get off the bus," said Terrica Singletary, "He just tried to back up and reverse and [Dykes] pulled out the gun and he just shot him, and he just took Ethan."
School bus driver Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was fatally shot several times by Dykes.
The siblings and the rest of the students on board were able to get away unharmed, but were shocked by what had transpired just five days ago.
"I never thought I would have to go through a shootout," Singletary said.
They said they had seen Dykes, 65, working on his fence, and described him as a menacing figure.
"He was very protective of his stuff," Tristian Singletary said. "Whenever he stares at you, he looks kind of crazy."
Dykes has been holed up in his underground bunker with his 5-year-old hostage named Ethan near Midland City for five days now. Neighbors told ABCNews.com that Dykes has been known to retreat underground for up to eight days.
While Dykes, who was described as having "no regard for human life," has allowed negotiators to send Ethan's medicine, potato chipsa, coloring books and toys, into the bunker for the boy through a ventilation pipe that leads into the 6-by-8-foot subterranean hideout four feet underground, authorities are staying quiet about their conversations with Dykes.
While negotiations continue and it was reported that Ethan is physically unharmed, an official told The Associated Press that the boy has been crying for his parents.
Meanwhile, his peers are steadfast that he will return home soon.
"Ethan will make it out there, Ethan will make it out there," Tristian Singletary said.
ABC News' Kevin Dolak and Gio Benitez contributed to this report.