Mother thankful for son's return after standoff

By: KKCO 11 News Email
By: KKCO 11 News Email

A family's nightmare comes to an end, and now a mother is expressing her gratitude for the rescue of her five-year-old son Ethan from a bunker in Midland City, Ala.

"For the first time in almost a week, I woke up this morning to the most beautiful sight… my sweet boy. I can't describe how incredible it is to hold him again," Ethan's mother said in a statement. She wishes to remain nameless.

Ethan was returned to his family Monday after FBI agents stormed the underground bunker where he was being held hostage. His armed captor, 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, died in the incident.

Dykes had taken the boy hostage on Jan. 29 after he fatally shot a school bus driver, officials say.

Ethan's grandmother, Betty Jean Ransbottom, tells The Associated Press that the five-year-old is OK physically, but she fears the ordeal could stay with him for the rest of his life.

Nevertheless, his mother is not taking his rescue for granted. She thanks everyone involved, as well as those who gave their thoughts and prayers.

Here is her full statement:

For the first time in almost a week, I woke up this morning to the most beautiful sight ... my sweet boy. I can't describe how incredible it is to hold him again.

Ethan is safe and back in my arms -- and I owe it all to some of the most compassionate people on Earth. I will never be able to repay those who helped bring Ethan home -- Sheriff Wally Olson and his team, District Attorney of Dale and Geneva counties, Kirke Adams, and his Victims Services officer, Amarylis Benefield; Wiregrass Angel House’s Shelly Linderman; all law enforcement agencies including the FBI and its Victims Specialist Helen Smith, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and other divisions of the Alabama Department of Public Safety and Houston County Sheriff’s Office ; Sanctuary of Praise and its staff; Destiny Church and its staff and congregation; and Pastor Jim Hill of Ridgecrest Baptist Church of Ozark.

And then there are our friends and neighbors who showered us with love and prayers during this weeklong ordeal and those who have provided food and other necessities for the many officers who worked tirelessly to bring an end to this situation.

My family and I ask that you respect our privacy and give us a little time -- time to heal, time to put this nightmare behind us, time to move forward.

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