UPDATE: Itawamba County hostage standoff is over

Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson says the 10-year-old girl who was held hostage is okay and the man who was holding her is dead.

Posted: Dec 29, 2018 2:30 PM
Updated: Jan 2, 2019 2:53 PM

10:24 p.m

ITAWAMBA COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) - Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson says the 10-year-old girl who was held hostage at a home this weekend is okay and the man who was holding her is dead.

Law enforcement officer at hostage standoff in northeast Itawamba County (Evan Hensley)

Law enforcement responding to a hostage standoff in Itawamba County Saturday (Evan Hensley)

According to the sheriff, the Mississippi Highway Patrol SWAT team entered the home after 9 p.m. Sunday, bringing to an end a 32-hour standoff.

"We were able to get her out safe," Dickinson told WTVA's Gracyn Ashmore live on WTVA 9 News at 10:00 shortly after the standoff ended. "She's smiling."

Dickinson adds the girl probably saved the lives of two of his sheriff's deputies.  He says she called 911 Saturday and warned the dispatcher not to allow deputies to come to the door because the man, Nathan Shepard, was waiting for them.

It turns out the girl's father, Paul Blackburn, was dead when deputies first arrived, and the sheriff says Shepard was trying to hide that from the girl. However, she found out and got upset.

The negotiator was able to talk to Shepard and to the girl throughout the ordeal.

"As long as we were talking, there was hope.  So we were going to just stay with it as long as it took," said Dickinson.

The sheriff says Shepard made a mistake, which led the SWAT team to make its move on the home.  He did not say what that mistake was.

On Dec. 31, the sheriff spoke with WTVA's Wayne Hereford and provided some details about the mistake Shepard made.

VIDEO: Itawamba County sheriff talks about the weekend standoff

7:59 p.m.

ITAWAMBA COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) - Multiple law enforcement agencies are still on the scene of a hostage standoff in Itawamba County.

Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson reassures the public that officials are doing their best to work in the best interest of the child.

“As long as the talks are positive, and it feels like we’re making some progress, we’re gonna keep on talking. We’ve got a child in there,” he said.

As of this update, WTVA’s Gracyn Ashmore remains at the scene. She will report any updates as they become available.

Sunday 11:35 a.m.

ITAWAMBA COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) - Officers are still working nearly 24 hours later to peacefully resolve a hostage standoff in northeast Itawamba County.

Law enforcement got a call around 1 p.m. Saturday of two men holding a 10-year-old girl inside a home on Alice Hall Road a couple of miles west of Red Bay, Alabama.

Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson says officers later found out only one person is holding the girl hostage.  It's not clear what the status is of the other man.

Officers with multiple agencies from Mississippi and Alabama could be seen outside the home Sunday morning.

The sheriff said they have been in contact with the man and the girl since the standoff began.

Look for updates on WTVA 9 News, WTVA.com and the WTVA 9 News app.

Original story below

GOLDEN, Miss. (WTVA) -- Law enforcement agencies are involved in a standoff in Itawamba County.

Sheriff Chris Dickinson says they initially received a report of two men holding a 10-year-old girl inside a home on Alice Hall Road in the northern part of the county.

He says they were told both men were armed.

Once they arrived at the scene Sheriff Dickinson says it was discovered only one person is holding the girl hostage, and the condition of the other man is unknown.

Dickinson says they are trying to talk the man into coming out of the home. He says they have been in contact with the girl as well.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol SWAT team has also been called to the scene.

Dickinson says they are not sure why the man is holding the girl hostage.

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