Three-year-old Casey Hathaway was missing for two days in Craven County, North Carolina. He disappeared from his grandmother’s backyard on Tuesday afternoon and wasn’t found until Thursday evening. So many people volunteered to help search for him that authorities had to turn some volunteers away on Wednesday. He’s in good health and asked to watch Netflix after he was found. Here is what we know so far about Hathaway and what happened.
1. He Was Found Alive on Thursday Near Where He Went Missing, & He Was Calling for His Mom When They Found Him. He Told Family That He Was Hanging Out with a Bear for Two Days.
In a development that some felt was near miraculous, little Casey Hathaway was found alive more than two days after he went missing. Authorities said that Hathaway was in good health, CNN reported, and he was found by a professional search-and-rescue team in Craven County near where he went missing. Some sources said he was found along a roadside.
His parents, Brittany and Chris, thanked everyone for helping search for Casey, WITN reported. They said he was doing well, smiled when he saw his sister, and he wanted to watch Netflix.
Shane Grier, captain of Chocowinity EMS, found Hathaway, ABC 11 reported. “We responded to a tip and found him by voice. Disentangled him from some briars and brought him out.”
Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said he didn’t believe that Hathaway had been in that same location the entire time. But he was very cold and very verbal when they found him. “Considering the conditions, I think he’s doing very well.” He said Hathaway could be heard calling for his mom when they found him.
Hathaway’s aunt said on Facebook that the three-year-old said he hung out with a bear for the two days he was missing. “Casey is healthy, smiling, and talking. He said he hung out with a bear for two days God sent him a friend to keep him safe. God is good God. Miracles do happen,” she wrote.
2. His Grandmother Realized He Was Missing When Casey Wasn’t with The Other Children After They All Played in the Backyard
Three-year-old Casey Hathaway was playing with two other children in his grandmother’s backyard when he went missing. His grandmother realized he was gone when the two other children came inside the home and Casey wasn’t with them, ABC 12 reported.
His grandmother and others searched for Hathaway about 45 minutes and then called 911 for help. He was reported missing around 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
Authorities had just released the 911 call from when Hathaway went missing shortly before he was found, KOMO News reported. The transcript describes the call as coming from Hathaway’s great grandmother rather than his grandmother, as other sources have reported. The caller said Hathaway’s sister was with him. She said in the call, “The other ones come through the house but left him there and he walked off somewhere and we can’t find him… It’s been at least 45 minutes cause we’ve been looking all over the woods for him.”
You can listen to the call below:
3. He May Have Wandered Into the Woods
Some believe that Hathaway wandered into the woods, The Fayetteville Observer reported before he was found. Some reports indicated that Hathaway may have been playing in the woods with the two other children, when the two children left to go inside and he stayed behind. He disappeared at 200 Toler Road on the border of Craven and Pamlico counties. The map above shows the approximate area where he was last seen. The area is heavily wooded and there are pools of water in the region. Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said some of the sinkholes come up to the height of his mid-thigh. Divers were also assessing the ponds near the homes.
4. Hathaway Was Not Dressed in Winter Clothes
Hathaway is 2’4″ and weighs 25 pounds. He has strawberry blonde hair, brown eyes, and was wearing a blue coat and dark pants when he was last seen in the Ernul area of Craven County. He was wearing light clothes, not winter clothes, Hughes said. This was a concern because the temperatures were expected to drop to 30 degrees while he was missing. Thankfully, he was found alive.
5. So Many Volunteers Showed Up To Help Wednesday Morning that Some Had To Be Turned Away
So many people showed up to help search for Hathaway on Wednesday morning that authorities had to turn some of them away, ABC 12 reported. On Tuesday night, at least 100 people showed up to help with the search. Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said, “We are doing everything we can to find this child, utilizing all resources at our disposal and once again, we want these folks in the Cayton Community and Ernul Community to certainly keep an ear out.”
The Highway Patrol provided a helicopter with Forward-looking infrared to find heat sources, and dogs have also been brought in to help with the search, The Fayetteville Observer noted. Drones are also being used today.
Law enforcement have investigated every lead and tip, but far nothing revealed Hathaway’s location until a professional search and rescue team found him. Deputies asked anyone in the area to search storage sheds, vehicles, and their property, WSPA reported.
Before Hathaway was found, Hughes said that deputies hadn’t ruled out any possibilities in Hathaway’s disapperance, including abduction or kidnapping, ABC 11 reported. But the FBI said they had no reason to believe that Hathaway isn’t simply lost.
Ernul, in eastern North Carolina, is about 15 miles north of New Bern.
If you have any information about what happened to Hathaway, call 252-633-0498 or 919-662-4500.