The 6-year-old Alabama boy, who was held hostage in an underground bunker for a week after being kidnapped off his school bus, opened up to Dr. Phil for the first time since his hostage situation. Ethan’s mom revealed that he saw his bus driver and his captor get killed — read on for the dramatic interview.
After Ethan Gilman, 6, watched his bus driver killed on Jan. 29 by Vietnam veteran Jimmy Lee Dykes, he was kidnapped by the crazed gunman and held in an underground bunker for seven days and six nights. After snipers killed the captor, he was released into his mother’s arms — and his mom Jennifer Kirkland opened up to Dr. Phil in a revealing new interview on Feb. 13.
Dr. Phil traveled to to Alabama to visit with Jennifer and Ethan, and the poor mom — who is still reeling from the traumatic ordeal.
The Moment Jennifer Kirkland Found Out Ethan Was Kidnapped
Jennifer said she knew something was wrong as soon as Ethan wasn’t home from school at 3:45 like he normally is.
“About 4:15, I started just walking in circles in the yard,” she recalled. “Then the neighbor comes up says that her little boy and Ethan their bus driver had been shot and killed.”
Jennifer revealed that she was worried because the bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., and Ethan were pals — and Ethan liked to sit behind Charles on the bus.
When a police officer came to see the two women, Jennifer knew something was wrong. “I said the other child’s mother is here too can she come? They said no ma’am, we just need you,” she revealed. “I didn’t know what it was but I knew it had something to do with Ethan I just knew at that point.”
Ethan Held Hostage For Six Nights Underground
When she got to the police station, she discovered her little boy was held hostage underground. Even though authorities reassured Jennifer that he was safe and Jimmy didn’t appear to be dangerous, she was still obviously terrified.
“That’s my baby, that’s my world, he’s my everything. Everything I do, I do for him and I was afraid I wasn’t going to get him back,” she said through tears when describing how she felt during the kidnapping.
Ethan Gilman Watched Jimmy Lee Dykes Get Shot In Bunker
But even though he was relatively safe in the underground shelter, his mom Jennifer reveals that her son is still suffering from the traumatic consequences — including watching as Jimmy was executed by authorities on the seventh day of his captivity.
“He says, ‘the army came in and shot the bad man,’” Jennifer tells Dr. Phil. And poor little Ethan is having trouble sleeping — including slinging his arms and thrashing around in his sleep. He also reacts alarmingly to loud noises, and Jennifer recalled a time when she closed the cabinets too loudly and Ethan got frightened, possibly reminding him of the traumatic ordeal.
Ethan Whispers To His Mom: ‘My Bus Driver Is Dead’
When Dr. Phil finally talks with Ethan, he seems like a normal happy-go-lucky child. Dr. Phil hands him presents for his sixth birthday, including Lego sets, and the two played on the floor together.
While they were chatting, Dr. Phil brought up a few touchy questions, including if he walks to school — to which Ethan shook his head, and whispered in his mom’s ear, “My bus driver is dead.”
Despite the trauma the little boy has experienced, Dr. Phil is convinced that with proper therapy and counseling, he will recover fine. Even though he may never forget the kidnapping, Dr. Phil has offered his mom Jennifer and Ethan with the proper resources for them to deal together.
Watch a clip of the interview below:
What di YOU think of the interview HollyMoms? Are you surprised Ethan said he saw his bus driver killed?
— Christina Stiehl
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