Tonight, the CBS docuseries will feature the story of a 5-year-old boy who was held captive in an underground bunker for over a week. The boy’s traumatic experience was caused by a gunman who had shot his bus driver dead in Alabama ten years ago. This harrowing ordeal will be showcased in the fall premiere episode of the series.
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. on CBS, viewers can watch the “FBI True” episode called “The Boy in the Bunker.” This episode recounts the story of Ethan Gilman, who was taken from his school bus in Dale County by gunman Jimmy Lee Dykes on January 29, 2013. Ethan’s situation gained national attention, and his rescue in Midland City on February 4, 2013 became a dramatic event.
On Tuesday night’s episode of “FBI True,” viewers will hear from two key figures involved in the hostage situation: Molly Amman, the FBI profiler who was brought in to create a profile of the gunman before he was identified, and Bill Francis, the leader of the Hostage Rescue Team responsible for rescuing Ethan. Their interviews shed light on the intense efforts made to resolve the situation and bring Ethan to safety.
According to reports, Dykes took only Ethan with him when he left and brought him to an underground bunker that he had been constructing for months. The bunker measured 6 feet by 8 feet and was equipped with a PVC ventilation pipe that hostage negotiators used to communicate with Dykes in an attempt to secure Ethan’s release.
In the afternoon of February 4, 2013, with negotiations at a standstill and Ethan’s life in danger, the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team took action and breached the roof of the bunker just before 3:15 p.m. In a swift operation, they threw stun grenades and engaged in gunfire with Dykes, ultimately killing him and rescuing Ethan. According to the FBI, Dykes had intended to take hostages as a means of sharing his anti-government grievances with the world.
The pictures that were taken after Ethan’s rescue clearly depicted the confined space in which he was held captive. Dykes had sealed all the cracks in the bunker with caulk, making it even more cramped. Inside the bunker were two bunk-style beds, with thin mattresses, stacked one on top of the other. A ladder was placed across from the beds, leading up to a hatch to the outside. The photos also showed visible PVC plumbing pipes and exposed electrical outlets, as well as unfinished walls and nails in the rafters for hanging things.
Back in October 2020, the CBS show “The FBI Declassified” shared the story of the ordeal.