January 31, 2013
by Nick Dutton
MIDLAND CITY, Alabama (CNN) — Somewhere underneath this red Alabama dirt is a little boy. A kindergartner, snatched from the safety of his school bus by a gunman and stashed in an underground bunker;
A boy who needs daily medication;
A child that this Bible Belt community of 2,300 is praying for.
Many details have been released about the boy’s abductor:
How he was supposed to have been in court to face charges that he’d shot at his neighbors over a minor property dispute;
How he boarded a stopped school bus Tuesday and allegedly shot dead the bus driver;
How he worked on the bunker in the middle of the night for more than a year.
But as the sun rose again on Midland City on Thursday, many more questions remain:
How deep is the bunker?
What’s in it beside the man and the boy?
How are they keeping warm when temperatures have dipped into the 30s in the area?
Is the boy safe?
And most importantly, why him?
Authorities have not released the name of the suspected gunman. But neighbors and news outlets around Midland City identified him as 65-year-old (name removed), a Vietnam veteran and a retired truck driver.
Neighbor Jimmy Davis told CNN that (suspect) began digging a hole on his property soon after he moved in down the road from him.
Davis, who works a night shift, said (suspect) worked on his bunker in the middle of the night — every other night, between 2 and 3 a.m., for a year and a half.
He was friendly and welcoming and told Davis the hole would be a storm shelter.
But Tim Byrd, chief investigator with the Dale County Sheriff’s Office, told the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch that (suspect) had “anti-America” views.
“His friends and his neighbors stated that he did not trust the government, that he was a Vietnam vet, and that he had PTSD,” Byrd told the civil rights group. “He was standoffish, didn’t socialize or have any contact with anybody. He was a survivalist type.”
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