Nightly News   |  February 02, 2013

Alabama hostage situation enters fifth day

A survivalist and his 5-year-old captive remained in a bunker in southern Alabama on Saturday as top hostage negotiators continued to communicate with the man. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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>>> in alabama tonight a man with a gun continues to hold a little boy hostage in an underground bunker after allegedly shooting to death the driver of the school bus the boy was on four days ago. nbc's gabe gutierrez is in midland city, alabama with that story. gabe, good evening.

>> reporter: lester, so far this standoff has lasted more than 97 hours and there's no end in sight. just up the road behind me police say the suspect has a heater, blankets, and plenty of supplies in that bunker. the delicate and tense standoff has police here in southeastern alabama on edge. s.w.a.t. teams and hostage negotiators focused on an underground bunker , where police say jimmy lee dice has held a 5-year-old boy for more than four days.

>> i want to thank him for taking care of our child.

>> reporter: police are choosing words carefully as they talk with him through a ventilation pipe attached to the bunker. they would not say whether he's making any demands. dice is a vietnam era veteran described by neighbors as a survivalist who doesn't trust the government.

>> what the negotiators are trying to do is to build this psychological umbilical cord between themselves and mr. dykes to the point where he finally feels, okay. i am safe to come out.

>> reporter: the standoff began tuesday afternoon when dykes allegedly boarded a stopped school bus and demanded two random children. when the bus driver refused, police say, dykes shot and killed him and made off with a boy named ethan who has a mild form of autism.

>> he considered them his children. i know that's the reason why my dad took those shots is for his children just like he would do for me and my sister.

>> reporter: every night there are prayer vigils here. a community desperate for a peaceful resolution, relieved that so far the boy is alive. a good sign, police say, is that the suspect has allowed negotiators to drop medicine and coloring books for the boy down the pipe into the bunker. lester?

>> gabe gutierrez tonight, thank you.