Friday, December 13 2013 9:25 AM EST2013-12-13 14:25:50 GMT
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ALBERTVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
After six days of being held against his will in an underground bunker, the 5-year-old named only as Ethan is free. His captor, 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes is dead. After six days of panic and prayer from members of the Midland City community, the nightmare is over.
"I think that everybody down there is able to take a deep breath and say, 'Thank God it's over,'" said Chief Detective J.T. Cartee.
Cartee is a crisis negotiator in Albertville. He said every hostage situation is tough and stressful, and they all have different outcomes.
"You have to understand your goal is to save the hostages, but as a hostage negotiator you also want to save that hostage taker," he said. "Certainly it would have been better if the gentleman had come out on his own and his life hadn't been lost, but certainly the child being okay, that's a happy ending."
An ending that Cartee said is not complete. Dale County officials still have work to do.
"They have a crime scene that they have to process," Cartee said. "They have to debrief. As a good team, you are going to go back and review everything you did. You want to learn from your mistakes, and you want to do it better the next time."
According to Cartee, that additional work for Dale County officials should take a few more days.
Little Ethan was taken to a nearby hospital and has been reunited with his mother and grandmother.