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.