Local pastor says family of kidnapped boy is staying strong on faith

A local pastor in Dale County, Michael Senn, spoke to the media about the condition of the young hostage victim's family on Friday, February 1, 2013. (

Michael Senn, a local pastor in Dale County, says below the cold, February dirt, buried nearly 12 feet down, there's something more inside the bunker that holds Jimmy Lee Dykes and five-year-old Ethan Gilliam.

"The presence of God, I believe, is in that bunker with that young child right now," he said. "Now trying to hold him together, give him courage and give him strength."

[Pics, Video & Links:{} Click for complete coverage of shooting, hostage standoff in Midland City]

He was on scene shortly after Tuesday's shooting that left bus driver, Charles Poland, Jr. dead. That school bus was towed away, Friday afternoon, from the area.

Senn remembers talking to one of Gilliam's best friends.

"He was really upset about the fact that somebody he cared for was taken away by a man that he just had saw put some bullets through the bus driver that they also cared for," Senn said.

Adding to the pain, Senn says Gilliam's sixth birthday is just days away.

"You would really never dream that anybody could take it to a level as Mr. Dykes has taken this, where he would enter a school bus, take a child hostage, shoot the driver and now hiding into the fourth day into a bunker," Senn said.

Senn has also talked with Gilliam's family preacher who says the family is standing firm on faith, hopeful for a peaceful ending that can't come too soon.

"They are remarkably strong in their faith," Senn said. "And believe in God for a great outcome and a speedy outcome that this thing will wind up very soon."

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