We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Five-year-old boy safe after being held hostage in days-long stand-off between abductor with police

Vietnam War veteran shot dead after police storm bunker to free youngster taken hostage

Police say they shot dead Jim Dykes, the man who was accused of killing the driver and snatching a 5-year-old boy off a bus full of youngsters before fleeing with his hostage to an underground bunker, where authorities continue to send in food, medicine and other items, the county sheriff said today.

Midland City, a town of 2,400 nestled amid peanut farms and cotton fields, has been gripped by the hostage crisis for six days.

Police say 65-year-old Jim Dykes killed 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr. before escaping with the kindergartener, who has Asperger's syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a state lawmaker who has spent time with his mother.

On Sunday, more than 500 people filed into the Civic Center in the nearby town of Ozark to pay their final tribute to Poland, whom they hailed as a hero for protecting the other children on the bus before he was gunned down and the little boy grabbed.

Fliers imploring people to pray for the little boy were stuck onto the chain-link fence outside of the Midland City Elementary School, where he is enrolled. The fence also has been adorned with black, white, and red ribbons.