Somewhere underneath this red southeastern Alabama dirt is a little boy.
A kindergartner, snatched from the safety of his school bus by a gunman and stashed in an underground bunker;
A boy who needs daily medication;
A child that this Bible Belt community of 2,300 is praying for.
Many details have been released about the man suspected to be the boy's abductor:
How he was supposed to have been in court to face charges that he'd shot at his neighbors over a minor property dispute;
How he boarded a stopped school bus Tuesday and shot dead the bus driver;
How he worked on the bunker in the middle of the night for more than a year.
But many questions remained in Midland City on Thursday:
What's in the bunker beside the man and the boy?
How are they keeping warm when temperatures have dipped into the 30s in the area?
Is the boy safe?
And why, of all people, him?
The gunman stormed into the school bus Tuesday afternoon and demanded that the driver hand him a child.
The driver, 66-year-old Charles Poland Jr., was a gentle Bible-reading man who could not stand to discipline the children on his bus because it hurt his heart, the Dothan Eagle newspaper reported.
When he refused the demand, police said, the gunman shot him several times as 22 horrified children scrambled for cover.
But the man was able to grab the boy and drag him to his underground bunker.
And the standoff began.
Authorities have not released the name of the man they suspect to be the gunman. But neighbors and news outlets around Midland City identified him as Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, a Vietnam veteran and a retired truck driver.
Neighbor Jimmy Davis told CNN that Dykes began digging a hole on his property soon after he moved in down the road from him.
Davis, who works a night shift, said Dykes worked on his bunker in the middle of the night -- every other night, between 2 and 3 a.m., for a year and a half.
He was friendly and welcoming and told Davis the hole would be a storm shelter.
Now, the bunker Dykes dug is four feet deep, and Dykes has been known to stay there for up to eight days, said James Arrington, police chief in Pinckard, Alabama.