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Two Days After Rescue From Bunker, Ethan Turns 6

Posted: February 6, 2013

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The little boy survived being held by a killer for nearly a week in an underground bunker. He's said to be acting "like a normal kid" now, and like most children he's likely to be resilient. But experts say he's likely to remember his ordeal for the rest of his life.

Birthday cards for Ethan have been arriving at the town hall in Napier Field, Ala., where he lives.

Birthday cards for Ethan have been arriving at the town hall in Napier Field, Ala., where he lives. Joe Songer

More is being learned about Monday's rescue of that little boy in Midland City, Ala.

Let's first pause, though, to note that today is Ethan's sixth birthday — and hope that he can enjoy it. As AL.com writes, "memories of what happened will no doubt live with him his whole life." Fortunately, experts say "children are resilient and through therapy and support from his community, his family, and his school, the traumatic effects can be lessened with time."

Ethan (like other news outlets, NPR is not reporting his last name to help preserve some of the family's privacy), was on his school bus with other children on Jan. 29 when a gunman shot the driver dead, snatched the boy and took him to an underground bunker where he was held captive for nearly a week.

According to The Associated Press, kidnapper Jimmy Lee Dykes "rigged the bunker with explosives, tried to reinforce it against any raid, and when SWAT agents stormed the shelter Monday to rescue the boy ... [he] engaged in a firefight," FBI and officials said.

Ethan, the wire service adds, "has Asperger's syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [but] was said to be acting like a normal kid after his rescue. Officials said there was no indication that Dykes had harmed the boy. [Ethan] was running around, playing with a toy dinosaur and other action figures, eating a turkey sandwich and watching SpongeBob SquarePants [on Tuesday], relatives and Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said."

The Napier Field (Ala.) Police Department has been collecting cards for Ethan. The address:

Ethan

NFPD

400 Headquarters St.

Napier Field, Ala. 36303

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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