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Agent on the Spot: Lawman with East Tennessee ties again in the news

June 1st, 2013 1:22 pm by Jamie Satterfield - Knoxville News Sentinel

Agent on the Spot: Lawman with East Tennessee ties again in the news

Associated Press FBI Bureau Chief in Mobile Steve Richardson, left, gives a statement to the media following the end of the hostage crisis in Midland City, Ala., on Feb. 4. AP Photo.

It didn’t take long for the FBI to size up the situation the agency faced. A school bus driver in the tiny town of Midland City, Ala., had been fatally shot. A 5-year-old boy had been abducted by the shooter, a stranger.

The kidnapper had holed up with the boy, who required medication three times daily for Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in a 6-foot-by-8-foot bunker a dozen feet underground. Homemade bombs had been planted in at least two locations.

“The news kept getting worse and worse as the story unfolded,” recalled Steve Richardson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Mobile, Ala., division.

Six days later, the boy would be freed and his abductor, Jim Lee Dykes, dead — all while the nation watched via a massive turnout of media as the February drama unfolded.

Richardson graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in accounting. The field didn’t suit him, so in 1991 he joined the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

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