Printed on: February 08, 2013

Experts say boy in Ala. bunker will likely face long recovery


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- The boy who was freed from an underground bunker is acting like a typical 5-year-old by all accounts, playing with toys and running around, but psychology experts and a woman who suffered through a similar ordeal warn there could be long-term emotional scars.

Ethan, the boy whom law enforcement officials have identified only by his first name, was rescued Monday when the FBI stormed the shelter and killed his kidnapper, Jimmy Lee Dykes, in a shootout. Ethan, who was not physically harmed, was taken to a hospital and reunited with family. He had his 6th birthday Wednesday.

"He's old enough that he will remember this. If he were 2 or 3, it might be another matter. But if you think of something really bad that happened when you were 5 or 6, you can remember those things," said Nadine Kaslow, a family therapist and psychiatry professor at Emory University in Atlanta.

She said he will need to be evaluated for nightmares and lingering signs of fear or trauma, like aggression.