(CBS News) The Alabama hostage drama is now in its seventh day. The
5-year-old boy held captive underground by Jimmy Lee Dykes remains
underground and could spend his birthday as a hostage. The boy,
identified only as Ethan, turns six on Wednesday.
tell CBS News they still have an open line of communication with the
Dykes, but almost a full week into this standoff, very little has
Details about communications with the suspect
Dykes, remain scarce. Dykes did allow police to lower crackers and a red
hot wheels car into the underground bunker for his hostage.
Steiner, a friend of Ethan's family, told CBS News he has autism. She
said, "He's crying, he wants his momma, he's never really been away from
Police said Dykes appears to be caring for Ethan.
Sheriff Wally Olson said in a recent press conference, "Thank you for
taking care of our child."
Neighbors remember Dykes for
his anti-government rants. CBS News has learned Dykes is a decorated
veteran. He served in the Navy in the late 1960s, based in Japan and
California and received awards for good conduct.
senior correspondent John Miller, a former FBI assistant director, who
has been involved in other hostage and standoff situations, said there
are some good signs in this situation. He said Dykes' caring for the boy
is a sign of bonding. "You can see that when Dykes asks for coloring
books, crayons. He allows medication to come in," he said. "He's trying
to provide for this boy, so as time goes on, that bond should increase.
"It also happens with the negotiators. There's going to be a primary
negotiator who started this conversation and a backup negotiator and
then over this many days they're going to be others. He's going develop
relationships and trust as he asks for things and they give him things
and they ask for things in return. ... That can only get better,
probably not worse."
Miller said the situation with Dykes
may be controlled to some extent by negotiators, but depends largely on
Dykes' own rollercoaster or emotions. Miller explained, "One would
argue this might not be a stable person, so they have to manage that in
that conversation and sometimes they may want to do a controlled probe
to stir things up if there's no conversation, but otherwise they may
want to talk him down if he's getting excited. But they want to keep
that even if they can."
Explaining what a controlled
probe is, Miller said it's a possible tactic "when somebody breaks off
conversation, you can stir things up. Make some noise, do something
provocative. That will usually generate a phone call. And then at least
you've got a conversation going on. On the other hand, when somebody is
getting very excited for perspective, they say, let's see where things
are. 'The kid's fine, you're fine, let's bring this down a notch.'"
Children in the area will return to school Monday for the first time since the shooting.
Sunday, just miles from the standoff, hundreds gathered to remember
slain bus driver Charles Poland, Jr. Police say Dykes shot Poland
Tuesday, when he stormed this school bus demanding child hostages.
Robbie Batchelor, a fellow school bus driver, said of Poland, "He laid down his life for the kids on the bus."
Twenty children on that bus escaped.