FBI releases photos of Midland City, Ala. bunker; Mother of child hostage releases statement

FBI agents and Dale County negotiators used this pipe to communicate with Jimmy Dykes. (Special Agent Jason Pack/FBI)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released four photos of the exterior of the underground bunker in Midland City, Ala. where Jimmy Lee Dykes held a 5-year-old boy hostage for nearly a week.

Law enforcement rescued the child Monday afternoon after negotiation talks with Dykes began to deteriorate. The boy was taken to safety, unharmed, while Dykes was pronounced deceased a short time after the successful rescue effort.

The photos, which were taken by Special Agent Jason Pack, show the PVC pipe protruding from the ground that was used by negotiators to pass comfort items to the boy in the underground bunker and for communicating with Dykes.

A blue tent has since been placed over the bunker to protect evidence below at the scene.

Students returned to school at Midland City Elementary on Tuesday for the first time in a week after Dykes allegedly shot and killed a Dale County bus driver before taking the little boy hostage.

Mother of child hostage releases 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."