TODAY   |  February 03, 2013

Funeral held for slain Ala. bus driver

Mourners lined up to pay their respects to bus driver Charles Poland, who died on the job last week, protecting the kids on his bus after it was boarded by Jimmy Lee Dykes. Dykes continues to hold Ethan, 5, hostage in an underground bunker after snatching him from the bus. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now, to that standoff in alabama. a 5-year-old boy has spent more than 110 hours in captivity. police say his kidnapper shot a bus driver last week before taking the boy hostage in an underground bunker . gabe gee tee air rutierrez is following th is storiry.

>> reporter: the funeral for that bus driver is set later this afternoon, a day after the local sheriff publicly thanked the suspect who might have access to television for, quote, taking care of our child. a sign of how sensitive these negotiations have become.

>> charles pohlen was a bus driver that died on the job protecting more than 20 children under his care. saturday night, mourners lined up to pay their respect as the tense standoff dragged on.

>> it is just devastating. we want it to come to a resolution. we want to save that little child .

>> reporter: the 5-year-old child named ethan is still being held hostage in an underground bunker by this man, jimmy lee dykes, neighbors describe as a loaner with a deep distrust of government.

>> we have been in constant communication.

>> reporter: police are talking with him through a ventilation pipe choosing their words carefully.

>> i want to thank him for taking care of our child.

>> reporter: he is allowing ethan potato chips , toys and medicines and the bunker has an electric heater and blankets. the ordeal began tuesday when he grabbed ethan after boarding a school bus and shooting the driver. kate ott tick scene still weighing on this small town. he was driving by when he noticed children crying on the side of the road . he was so stunned, he crashed his car.

>> i realized something serious had to have happened.

>> there are new ribbons and prayers vigils here. joshua tucker is one of the organizers.

>> i want our little warriors in that bunker with him to get out safe and sound.

>> reporter: a little warrior now trapped underground for more than 110 hours.

>> as the standoff drags on, several schools here in dale county remain closed until further notice.

>> thanks.