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Negotiators talking to Ala. captor through pipe

  • Law enforcement personnel load provisions into a bus during the third day of a hostage crisis involving a 5-year-old boy, in Midland City, Ala, Thursday, Jan 31, 2013. A standoff in rural Alabama went into a second full day Thursday as police surrounded an underground bunker where a retired truck driver was holding a 5-year-old hostage he grabbed off a school bus after shooting the driver dead. The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect the 21 students aboard the bus. (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)

    Law enforcement personnel load provisions into a bus during the third day of a hostage crisis involving a 5-year-old boy, in Midland City, Ala, Thursday, Jan 31, 2013. A standoff in rural Alabama went into a second full day Thursday as police surrounded an underground bunker where a retired truck driver was holding a 5-year-old hostage he grabbed off a school bus after shooting the driver dead. The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect the 21 students aboard the bus. (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)

  • In this undated photo released by the Dale County Board of Education, bus driver Charles Albert Poland, Jr., is shown. A standoff in rural Alabama went into a second full day Thursday as police surrounded an underground bunker where a retired truck driver was holding a 5-year-old hostage he grabbed off a school bus after shooting Poland, the driver dead. Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect the 21 students aboard the bus.  (AP Photo/ Dale County Board of Education)

    In this undated photo released by the Dale County Board of Education, bus driver Charles Albert Poland, Jr., is shown. A standoff in rural Alabama went into a second full day Thursday as police surrounded an underground bunker where a retired truck driver was holding a 5-year-old hostage he grabbed off a school bus after shooting Poland, the driver dead. Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect the 21 students aboard the bus. (AP Photo/ Dale County Board of Education)

  • Law enforcement personnel work at check point Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Midland City, Ala., near the home  where the Tuesday's school bus shooting suspect is barricaded in a bunker with a young child as hostage. Police, SWAT teams and negotiators were at a rural property where a man was believed to be holed up in a homemade bunker Wednesday  after fatally shooting the driver of a school bus and fleeing with a 6-year-old child passenger, authorities said. (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)

    Law enforcement personnel work at check point Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Midland City, Ala., near the home where the Tuesday's school bus shooting suspect is barricaded in a bunker with a young child as hostage. Police, SWAT teams and negotiators were at a rural property where a man was believed to be holed up in a homemade bunker Wednesday after fatally shooting the driver of a school bus and fleeing with a 6-year-old child passenger, authorities said. (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)

  • In this Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 photo, media outlets those from around the state of Alabama broadcast while covering the ongoing hostage crisis, in Midland City Ala. Police, SWAT teams and negotiators were at a rural property where a man was believed to be holed up in a homemade bunker Wednesday  after fatally shooting the driver of a school bus and fleeing with a 6-year-old child passenger, authorities said. (AP Photo/Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)

    In this Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 photo, media outlets those from around the state of Alabama broadcast while covering the ongoing hostage crisis, in Midland City Ala. Police, SWAT teams and negotiators were at a rural property where a man was believed to be holed up in a homemade bunker Wednesday after fatally shooting the driver of a school bus and fleeing with a 6-year-old child passenger, authorities said. (AP Photo/Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)

  • Law officers at the Dale County hostage scene in Midland City, Ala. on Thursday morning, Jan. 31, 2013. A gunman holed up in a bunker with a 6-year-old hostage has kept law officers at bay since the standoff began when he killed a school bus driver and dragged the boy away, authorities said. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)

    Law officers at the Dale County hostage scene in Midland City, Ala. on Thursday morning, Jan. 31, 2013. A gunman holed up in a bunker with a 6-year-old hostage has kept law officers at bay since the standoff began when he killed a school bus driver and dragged the boy away, authorities said. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)

  • Law officers at the Dale County hostage scene in Midland City, Ala. on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. A gunman holed up in a bunker with a 6-year-old hostage has kept law officers at bay since the standoff began when he killed a school bus driver and dragged the boy away, authorities said. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)

    Law officers at the Dale County hostage scene in Midland City, Ala. on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. A gunman holed up in a bunker with a 6-year-old hostage has kept law officers at bay since the standoff began when he killed a school bus driver and dragged the boy away, authorities said. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)

  • Heavily armed men move away from the suspects home at the scene of a Dale County hostage scene in Midland City, Ala. on Wednesday Jan. 30, 2013. Authorities were locked in a standoff Wednesday with a gunman authorities say on Tuesday intercepted a school bus, killed the driver, snatched a 6-year-old boy and retreated into a bunker at his home in Alabama. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)  NO SALES

    Heavily armed men move away from the suspects home at the scene of a Dale County hostage scene in Midland City, Ala. on Wednesday Jan. 30, 2013. Authorities were locked in a standoff Wednesday with a gunman authorities say on Tuesday intercepted a school bus, killed the driver, snatched a 6-year-old boy and retreated into a bunker at his home in Alabama. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh) NO SALES

  • Law enforcement personnel load provisions into a bus during the third day of a hostage crisis involving a 5-year-old boy, in Midland City, Ala, Thursday, Jan 31, 2013. A standoff in rural Alabama went into a second full day Thursday as police surrounded an underground bunker where a retired truck driver was holding a 5-year-old hostage he grabbed off a school bus after shooting the driver dead. The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect the 21 students aboard the bus. (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)
  • In this undated photo released by the Dale County Board of Education, bus driver Charles Albert Poland, Jr., is shown. A standoff in rural Alabama went into a second full day Thursday as police surrounded an underground bunker where a retired truck driver was holding a 5-year-old hostage he grabbed off a school bus after shooting Poland, the driver dead. Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect the 21 students aboard the bus.  (AP Photo/ Dale County Board of Education)
  • Law enforcement personnel work at check point Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Midland City, Ala., near the home  where the Tuesday's school bus shooting suspect is barricaded in a bunker with a young child as hostage. Police, SWAT teams and negotiators were at a rural property where a man was believed to be holed up in a homemade bunker Wednesday  after fatally shooting the driver of a school bus and fleeing with a 6-year-old child passenger, authorities said. (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)
  • In this Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 photo, media outlets those from around the state of Alabama broadcast while covering the ongoing hostage crisis, in Midland City Ala. Police, SWAT teams and negotiators were at a rural property where a man was believed to be holed up in a homemade bunker Wednesday  after fatally shooting the driver of a school bus and fleeing with a 6-year-old child passenger, authorities said. (AP Photo/Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)
  • Law officers at the Dale County hostage scene in Midland City, Ala. on Thursday morning, Jan. 31, 2013. A gunman holed up in a bunker with a 6-year-old hostage has kept law officers at bay since the standoff began when he killed a school bus driver and dragged the boy away, authorities said. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)
  • Law officers at the Dale County hostage scene in Midland City, Ala. on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. A gunman holed up in a bunker with a 6-year-old hostage has kept law officers at bay since the standoff began when he killed a school bus driver and dragged the boy away, authorities said. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)
  • Heavily armed men move away from the suspects home at the scene of a Dale County hostage scene in Midland City, Ala. on Wednesday Jan. 30, 2013. Authorities were locked in a standoff Wednesday with a gunman authorities say on Tuesday intercepted a school bus, killed the driver, snatched a 6-year-old boy and retreated into a bunker at his home in Alabama. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)  NO SALES

Speaking into a 4-inch-wide ventilation pipe, hostage negotiators in Alabama tried yesterday to talk a man into releasing a kindergartner and ending a standoff in an underground bunker that stretched into its third day.

The man identified by multiple neighbors and witnesses as 65-year-old retired truck driver Jimmy Lee Dykes was accused of pulling the boy from a school bus Tuesday and killing the driver. The pair was holed up in a small room on his property that authorities compared to tornado shelters common in the area.

James Arrington, police chief of the neighboring town of Pinckard, said the shelter was about 4 feet underground, with about 6-by-8 feet of floor space and a PVC pipe that negotiators were speaking through.

There were signs that the standoff could continue for some time: A state legislator said the shelter has electricity, food and TV. The police chief said the captor has been sleeping and told negotiators that he has spent long periods in the shelter before.

“He will have to give up sooner or later because (authorities) are not leaving,” Arrington said. “It’s pretty small, but he’s been known to stay in there eight days.”

Midland City Mayor Virgil Skipper said he has been briefed by law enforcement and visited with the boy’s parents.

“He’s crying for his parents,” he said. “They are holding up good. They are praying and asking all of us to pray with them.”

The normally quiet red clay road was teeming yesterday with more than a dozen
police cars and trucks, a fire truck, a helicopter, officers from multiple agencies, media and at least one ambulance near Midland City, population 2,300.

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