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Entries in Hostage (17)

Sunday
May122013

Hostages Rescued After Two-Day Standoff in Trenton

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(TRENTON, N.J.) -- A 36-hour standoff with an armed man who took 3 children hostage in a Trenton, New Jersey, home ended early Sunday after SWAT teams fatally shot the suspect and rescued the children.

Police say Gerald Tyrone Murphy, who was a registered sex offender with an extensive criminal history, had been living with Carmelita Stevens and her family for less than two months. Two weeks ago he killed Stevens along with her 13-year-old son and took the other 3 children, two teenage daughters and a 4-year old boy, hostage in a room upstairs.

Trenton Police Director Ralph Rivera Jr. said the standoff began Friday when police arrived at the home to investigate reports that Carmelita Stevens' children hadn't been to school in two weeks.

It all came to an end early Sunday morning, according to New Jersey Police superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes.

“A single shot was fired by our entry teams to stop a threatening action against one of the children by Murphy,” Fuentes recounted. “Murphy was wounded, taken into custody and transported to the Fuld medical Center by Trenton EMS. He has since died of his injuries.”

Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini said there are reports that Murphy, who also went by “Skip,” sexually abused the woman's daughters during the ordeal. The two girls, ages 16 and 18, along with the 4-year-old were taken to a medical center for evaluation and treatment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb142013

Couple Recounts Being Held Hostage by Christopher Dorner

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The California couple held hostage by Christopher Dorner, the ex-Los Angeles Police Department cop suspected of killing four people, said their ordeal lasted a few minutes but seemed like hours.

Karen and Jim Reynolds said at a news conference on Wednesday that they think Dorner, 33, was holed up in their unoccupied San Bernardino Mountains cabin since Friday, only steps from where cops had set up a command center.

"He said four or five times that he didn't have a problem with us, he just wanted to clear his name," Jim said.  "He said I don't have a problem with you, so I'm not going to hurt you."

Dorner tied their arms and put pillowcases over their heads before fleeing in their purple Nissan.

Before he fled, the couple said Dorner told them that he had been watching them before he took over their cabin.  Dorner told the couple he could tell they were "hard working, good people."

"He had been watching us and saw me shoveling the snow Friday," Jim said.

The two said they left the cabin door unlocked and that could have been the reason Dorner was able to enter undetected.

Dorner remained "calm and meticulous" throughout the harrowing ordeal, the couple said.

The Reynolds were some of the last people to see Dorner before what appears to be his final encounter with police.

Charred remains of the body believed to be Dorner were removed from another cabin high in the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear, Calif., on Wednesday, the apparent site of Dorner's last stand.

The Reynolds walked into their cabin around noon Tuesday when they came face-to-face with Dorner.  There was no question in their minds who he was: the suspected cop killer at the center of one of the largest manhunts in recent memory.

"I thought we were dead," Jim said with a nervous chuckle.

The whole ordeal lasted about 15 minutes, but felt much longer for the couple.

"It felt like 15 hours with him," Karen said.

The Reynolds finally managed to break free and untie themselves after Dorner escaped with their car.  Jim called 911 on a cellphone he managed to stuff in a couch cushion without Dorner's knowing.

After Dorner fled the Reynolds' cabin, he moved to another cabin in the area where he apparently engaged in a shootout with police, killing one deputy and wounding another, before the building was consumed by flames.

"We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out," San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told reporters Wednesday evening, although he noted that pyrotechnic canisters known as "burners" were fired into the cabin during a tear-gas assault in an effort to flush out Dorner.

The canisters generate high temperatures, he added.

While the actual cause of the fire is still unknown, the manhunt for Dorner has ceased and the Reynolds' story fills in much of what police didn't know about his whereabouts since he crashed his car and set it ablaze last week.

"The events that occurred [Tuesday] in the Big Bear area brought to close an extensive manhunt," McMahon said.

"I cannot absolutely, positively confirm it was him," he added.

The deceased deputy was identified as Det. Jeremiah MacKay, 35, a 15-year veteran and the father of two children: a daughter, 7, and son, 4 months old.

Dorner is also suspected of killing Monica Quan and her fiance, who were found shot to death on Feb. 3.  Quan was the daughter of former LAPD Capt. Randal Quan, who was mentioned as a target of Dorner's fury in his manifesto.

Dorner is also suspected in the shooting death of Riverside Police Officer Michael Crain.  His funeral was Wednesday.

In a 6,000-word "manifesto," Dorner outlined his anger at the Los Angeles Police Department for firing him, and made threats against individuals he believed were responsible for ending his career with the police force five years ago.  Dorner was fired after filing what the LAPD determined to be a false report accusing other cops of brutality.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb092013

Six Ways to Survive Being Taken Hostage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After Jimmy Lee Dykes killed school bus driver Charles Poland Jr., abducted a 5-year-old and held him hostage for nearly a week, the young boy, Ethan, joined the all-too-short list of survivors of abduction.

Retired NYPD detective sergeant and negotiator Wallace Zeins handled approximately 150 hostage cases over his 22-year career. Zeins said he believes Dykes is a prime example of a hostage-taker who took his victim to accomplish a bigger goal.

In an interview with ABC News, Zeins said that all hostage-takers can be classified into four profiles: terrorist, prison inmate, professional criminal and emotionally disturbed person.

“Dykes fell into what we called an emotionally disturbed person,” Zeins said. “He had something that he wanted the public to know. He wanted the biggest audience he could get, and he did. If he wanted to kill his hostage he would have done it in his bunker.”

Zeins calls the first 10 to 30 minutes of a hostage-taking the “panic reaction.” That is the time when most hostages are killed, he said.

Here are his steps to survival if you are ever taken hostage:

1. Remain calm. ”Calmness is contagious, and that’s because nobody else is calm in this situation,” Zeins said. “Keep in mind that you have to acknowledge the hostage-taker’s emotions. Avoid being someone that is proactive and aggressive. Always try to speak slowly, softly and clearly to the hostage-taker. Even the hostage negotiator cannot be judgmental; he must use soothing words.”

2. Be observant and take a mental picture of everything around you. ”Do the doors in the room open inward or out? Put together a description of the hostage-taker and what he’s wearing. Does he have a weapon? Which hand is it in? Is he alone?”

3. Speak only when spoken to. “The hostage has no value to the criminal,” Zeins said. “The hostage is only a tool to get what he wants from the authorities. You should treat the hostage-taker like royalty. Avoid being aggressive, and discard items he would consider a threat. If you speak to the police on the phone with permission, only give yes or no answers. If you are ever in a terrorist situation and have the ‘wrong’ passport to them, keep that hidden and don’t speak about your religion.”

4. Tell the hostage-taker if you need vital medications. ”He doesn’t want a sick hostage, and those are usually the first they release,” Zeins said. “A medical condition can be enhanced by high stress, and the panic could cause the hostage-taker to take extreme action.”

5. Don’t try to escape or be a hero. “His bullet goes 1,200 feet a second, and you only go two feet a second. Don’t try to think that you could physically take that person out. Keep in mind it’s just as much in the criminal’s interest as it is yours to not let a situation go violent.”

6. If the police enter, hit the ground. “Stay low. [The police] are going to (shoot) for the largest body mass — from the waist up.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb062013

Alabama Hostage Taker Planted Bombs in Bunker, FBI Says

Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images(MIDLAND CITY, Ala.) -- Jimmy Lee Dykes, the man who held a young boy hostage for nearly a week in an underground bunker in Alabama, had two homemade explosive devices on his property and engaged in a firefight with SWAT agents before they stormed the bunker and killed him, according to the FBI.

One explosive device was found inside the bunker and another was located in the PVC pipe negotiators used to communicate with Dykes, the FBI said Tuesday night.  Both devices were "disrupted," according to the FBI.  The search for hazards is expected to continue through Wednesday.

Preliminary investigation reports indicate that Dykes engaged in a firefight with the SWAT agents who made entry on Monday, according to the FBI.

Officials were able to insert a high-tech camera into the 6-by-8-foot bunker to monitor Dykes' movements, and they became increasingly concerned that he might act out, a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the case told ABC News on Monday.

FBI special agents were positioned near the entrance of the bunker and negotiators were able to convince Dykes to approach the bunker door.  FBI agents used two explosions to gain entry into the bunker.  It also appears that Dykes reinforced the bunker against any attempted entry by law enforcement, according to the FBI.

ABC News has learned that Dykes first opened fired on the agents during the bunker raid. Moments later, the agents returned fire, killing Dykes.

The shooting review team continues to gather facts regarding the incident, the FBI said.

The boy, only identified as Ethan, was rescued from the scene by a waiting ambulance.  The bunker raid came six days after Dykes boarded a school bus, fatally shot the driver and abducted the boy, who suffered no physical injuries.

Meanwhile, Ethan is set to celebrate his sixth birthday on Wednesday, happily reunited with his family.

Ethan's relatives told ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday that he seemed "normal as a child could be" after what he went through and has been happily playing with his toy dinosaur.

"He's happy to be home," Ethan's great uncle Berlin Enfinger told GMA.  "He's very excited and he looks good."

In a statement released by the FBI on Tuesday, Ethan's mother said, "For the first time in almost a week, I woke up this morning to the most beautiful sight...my sweet boy. I can't describe how incredible it is to hold him again."

Ethan is "running around the hospital room, putting sticky notes on everyone that was in there, eating a turkey sandwich and watching SpongeBob," Dale County Schools Superintendent Donny Bynum said at a news conference on Tuesday.

When asked about a birthday party for Ethan, Bynum said, "We are still in the planning stages.  Our time frame is that we are waiting for Ethan, waiting on that process, but we are going to have it at a school facility, most likely the football stadium at Dale County High School."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb052013

Boy Rescued in Alabama Standoff Is 'Laughing, Joking' with Family

ABC News(MIDLAND CITY, Ala.) -- The 5-year-old boy held hostage in a nearly week-long standoff in Alabama is in good spirits and apparently unharmed after being reunited with his family at a hospital, according to his family and law enforcement officials.

The boy, identified only as Ethan, was rescued by the FBI Monday afternoon after they rushed the underground bunker where suspect Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, was holding him.  Dykes was killed in the raid and the boy was taken away from the bunker in an ambulance.

Ethan's thrilled relatives told ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday that he seemed "normal as a child could be" after what he went through and has been happily playing with his toy dinosaur.

"He's happy to be home," Ethan's great uncle Berlin Enfinger told GMA.  "He's very excited and he looks good."

"If I could, I would do cartwheels all the way down the road," Ethan's aunt Debra Cook said.  "I was ecstatic.  Everything just seemed like it was so much clearer.  You know, we had all been walking around in a fog and everyone was just excited.  There's no words to put how we felt and how relieved we were."

Cook said that Ethan has not yet told them anything about what happened in the bunker and they know very little about Dykes.

What the family does know is that they are overjoyed to have their "little buddy" back.

"He's a special child, 90 miles per hour all the time," Cook said.  "[He's] a very, very loving child.  When he walks in the room, he just lights it up."

Officials have remained tight-lipped about the raid, citing the ongoing investigation.

"I've been to the hospital," FBI Special Agent Steve Richardson told reporters Monday night.  "I visited with Ethan.  He is doing fine.  He's laughing, joking, playing, eating, the things that you would expect a normal 5- to 6-year-old young man to do.  He's very brave, he's very lucky, and the success story is that he's out safe and doing great."

Ethan is expected to be released from the hospital later Tuesday and head home where he will be greeted by birthday cards from his friends at school.  Ethan will celebrate his sixth birthday on Wednesday.

Officials were able to insert a high-tech camera into the 6-by-8-foot bunker to monitor Dykes' movements, and they became increasingly concerned that he might act out, a law enforcement source with direct knowledge told ABC News on Monday.  FBI special agents were positioned near the entrance of the bunker and used an explosive charge to gain access and neutralize Dykes.

"Within the past 24 hours, negotiations deteriorated and Mr. Dykes was observed holding a gun," Richardson said.  "At this point, the FBI agents, fearing the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child."

Richardson said it "got tough to negotiate and communicate" with Dykes, but declined to give any specifics.

After the raid was complete, FBI bomb technicians checked the property for improvised explosive devices, the FBI said in a written statement Monday afternoon.

The FBI had created a mock bunker near the site and had been using it to train agents for different scenarios to get Ethan out, sources told ABC News.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb052013

Alabama Hostage Standoff Ends: Kidnapper Dead, Child Safe

WDHN(MIDLAND CITY, Ala.) -- A week-long standoff in Alabama, where a retired trucker held a 5-year-old boy hostage in an underground bunker, has ended with the kidnapper dead and the child safe, according to law enforcement.

"FBI agents safely recovered the child who's been held hostage for nearly a week," FBI Special Agent Steve Richardson said at a news conference late Monday afternoon.

Officials were able to insert a high-tech camera into the bunker to monitor the movements of the suspect, Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, and they became increasingly concerned that he might act out, according to a law enforcement source with direct knowledge.

Richardson said negotiations with Dykes "deteriorated" in the past 24 hours.

"Mr. Dykes was observed holding a gun," Richardson said.  "At this point, the FBI agents, fearing the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child."

The boy, identified only as Ethan, was being treated at a hospital, authorities said.

"I've been to the hospital," Richardson told reporters Monday evening.  "I visited with Ethan.  He is doing fine.  He's laughing, joking, playing, eating -- the things that you would expect a normal 5- to 6-year-old young man to do.  He's very brave, he's very lucky, and the success story is that he's out safe and doing great."

"I'm a father," added Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson.  "A lot of these men and women that've been sacrificing tireless hours, they're parents, as well.  You know, it's a relief for us to be able to reunite a mother with her child."

Dykes is dead, but officials have not yet provided details on how he died or how the boy was rescued.

"Right now, FBI special agent bomb technicians are in the process of clearing the property for improvised explosive devices," the FBI said in a written statement late Monday afternoon. "When it is safe to do so, our evidence response teams, paired with state and local crime scene technicians, will process the scene."

Richardson added Monday evening, "I can't talk about sources, techniques or methods that we use. ... We were speaking with the subject.  I can tell you that.  Other than that, I can't go into detail."

Dykes allegedly shot and killed a school bus driver last week and threatened to kill all the children on the bus before taking the boy, one of the students on the bus said.

"He said he was going to kill us, going to kill us all," Tarrica Singletary, 14, told ABC News.

Dykes had been holed up in his underground bunker near Midland City, Ala., with the abducted boy for a week as police tried to negotiate with him through a PVC pipe.  Police had used the talks to send the child comfort items, including a red Hot Wheels car, coloring books, cheese crackers, potato chips and medicine.

The outcome of the situation drew praise from the White House.

"This evening, the president called FBI Director Robert Mueller to compliment him for the role federal law enforcement officers played in resolving the hostage situation in Alabama today," read a statement from a White House official late Monday.  "The president praised the exceptional coordination between state, local, and federal partners, and thanked all the law enforcement officials involved during the nearly week-long ordeal for their roles in the successful rescue of the child."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Alabama Hostage Standoff: Suspect Threatened to Kill All Kids on Bus

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(MIDLAND CITY, Ala.) -- Jimmy Lee Dykes, the retired Alabama trucker who allegedly shot a school bus driver last week and has held a 5-year-old boy hostage in his underground bunker for seven days, had threatened to kill all the children on the bus before taking the boy, one of the students on the bus said.

"He said he was going to kill us, going to kill us all," Tarrica Singletary, 14, told ABC News.

"The bus driver kept saying, 'Just please get off the bus,' and [Dykes] said, 'Ah, all right, I'll get off the bus," Tarrica said.  "He just tried to back up and reverse and [Dykes] pulled out the gun and he just shot him, and he just took Ethan."

Drones are flying over the homemade underground bunker Monday morning near Midland City, Ala., where police say Dykes is holding Ethan hostage.  Officials have not released the boy's last name.

Despite days of negotiations, police say they have little to go on.  Dykes, 65, has made few demands, and they still have no motive for his actions, or any sense of when the standoff might end.

Negotiators have been communicating with Dykes through a ventilation pipe that leads to the bunker, and have used it to send the child comfort items, including a red Hot Wheels car, coloring books, cheese crackers, potato chips and medicine.

At a news conference this weekend, Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson surprised many when he thanked Dykes.

"I want to thank him for taking care of our child, that is very important," Olson said on Saturday.

On Sunday, the tight-knit Midland City community buried bus driver Chuck Poland, who died protecting the children from Dykes.  Hundreds came out to the funeral as they prayed for Ethan.

Cindy Steiner, who lives next door to Ethan, said his mother is worried and just wants her "loving little boy" home safe.

"Because Ethan being autistic, he has behavior problems, and she doesn't want him to get in one of those moods where he's uncontrollable," Steiner told ABC News.  "She's scared what would happen."

Steiner said she had a message for Ethan.

"Hang tough, little man," she said.  "We love you.  We are praying for you."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb032013

Alabama Hostage Standoff Enters Sixth Day, Boy Being Made 'As Comfortable As Possible'

ABC News(Midland City, Ala.) -- A retired Alabama truck driver is making his 5-year-old hostage "as comfortable as possible" in an underground bunker, authorities said, as they enter the sixth day of negotiations.

Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, has allowed negotiators to send medicine for the boy, who has only been identified by his first name, Ethan.

Other comfort items, including potato chips, coloring books and toys, have been sent into the bunker for Ethan through a ventilation pipe that leads into the 6-by-8-foot subterranean hideout four feet underground.

"I want to thank him for taking care of our child, that is very important," Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said at a news conference on Saturday.

The incident began on Tuesday when Dykes boarded a school bus and demanded two boys between 6 and 8 years old. Bus driver Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was shot dead when he tried to block Dykes, who then abducted 5-year-old Ethan.

"The bus driver kept saying, 'Just please get off the bus,' and [Dykes] said, 'Ah, all right, I'll get off the bus," said witness Terrica Singletary, 14. "He just tried to back up and reverse and [Dykes] pulled out the gun and he just shot him, and he just took Ethan."

Neighbors told ABCNews.com that Dykes has been known to retreat underground for up to eight days.

Cindy Steiner, who lives next door to the 5-year-old boy, Ethan, said his mother is worried and just wants her "loving little boy" home safe.

"Because Ethan being autistic, he has behavior problems, and she doesn't want him to get in one of those moods where he's uncontrollable," Steiner told ABC News. "She's scared what would happen."

While the community is praying for a peaceful resolution, Steiner said she had a message for 5-year-old Ethan.

"Hang tough, little man," she said. "We love you. We are praying for you."

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb022013

Alabama Standoff: Students Say Hostage Suspect Jimmy Lee Dykes Threatened to Kill

ABCNews.com(MIDLAND CITY, Ala.) -- A brother and sister who escaped the school bus where a 5-year-old autistic boy was taken hostage by a retired Alabama trucker 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 Jimmy Lee 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 alright, 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 on Tuesday afternoon.

"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 kinda crazy."

Dykes has been holed up in his underground bunker with his 5-year-old hostage named Ethan near Midland City, Ala. 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, as well as coloring books, into the bunker for the boy through a ventilation pipe that leads into the 6 by 8 foot subterranean hideout 4 feet underground, authorities are staying quiet about their conversations with Dykes.

Meanwhile, his peers are steadfast that he will return home soon.

"Ethan will make it out there, Ethan will make it out there," said Tristian Singletary.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb012013

Alabama Hostage Suspect Had Court Date Day After Kidnapping

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(MIDLAND CITY, Ala.) -- The retired Alabama trucker who shot a school bus driver and is now holding a kindergarten student in an underground bunker was scheduled to be in court this past Wednesday to answer for allegedly shooting at his neighbors in a dispute over a damaged speed bump.

Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, has been holed up in a 6 by 8 foot bunker, four feet underground with a 5-year-old autistic boy named Ethan since Tuesday, when he boarded a school bus and asked for two 6- to 8-year-old boys.  School bus driver Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was shot several times by Dykes, and died trying to protect the children.

Police said that they do not think that Dykes had any connection to Ethan, and that SWAT teams and police are negotiating with Dykes.

"I could tell you that negotiators continue to communicate with the suspect and that there's no reason to believe the child has been harmed," Sheriff Wally Olson said late Thursday.

As the underground standoff moved into its fourth day, tensions grew in this small community near Midland City, Ala., which is now enveloped by SWAT teams and police.

"That's an innocent kid.  Let him go back to his parents, he's crying for his parents and his grandparents and he does not know what's going on," Midland City Mayor Virgil Skipper told ABC News.  "Let this kid go."

Neighbor Jimmy Davis said that he has seen the bunker where Dykes has been known to hunker down for up to eight days.

"He's got steps made out of cinder blocks going down to it, Davis said.  "It's lined with those red bricks all in it."

Police say he may have enough supplies to last him weeks.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







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