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US kidnapper killed, child safe: FBI

Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson speaks to reporters about the hostage rescue operation on February 4, 2013 in  Alabama
Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson speaks to reporters on February 4, 2013 about the rescue of a boy, 5, following his kidnapping a week ago, in Midland City, Alabama.

A US gunman and murder suspect who snatched a five-year-old boy and held him for a week underground in a bunker besieged by police has been killed and the child is safe, the FBI said.

Police had earlier identified the abductor as Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 65-year-old retired trucker. The motive of the January 29 abduction in the town of Midland City in the southern state of Alabama remained unclear.

"At approximately 3:12 this afternoon, FBI agents safely recovered the child who's been held hostage for nearly a week," said FBI Special Agent Steve Richardson, who is in charge of the Mobile, Alabama division.

Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 65-year-old retired trucker and Vietnam War veteran, February 1, 2013
Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 65-year-old retired trucker and Vietnam War veteran is shown in this photo released by the Alabama Department of Public Safety, February 1, 2013.

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

The child, said Richardson, "appears physically unharmed and is being treated at a local hospital. The subject is deceased."

Dykes is thought to have shot dead the driver of a school bus when he seized his young hostage, retreating to an underground room on his property and defying calls for his surrender.

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