A 3-year-old boy was found alive, caught in a briar patch and calling for his mother, two days after he vanished from his grandmother’s yard in North Carolina.
“We brought Casey to his family just like we said we were going to do. We did not give up, we were persistent,” Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said in a press conference Thursday night announcing the recovery. “The little fella is happy. And his parents are very happy as well.”
Casey Hathaway disappeared Tuesday afternoon after he had been playing outside his grandmother’s house with relatives. The two children he had been playing with returned to the house, but Hathaway wasn’t with them.
After searching the woods nearby the house, his family called 911 and reported the young boy missing, launching a massive manhunt, according to WTVD.
Hundreds of volunteers and multiple agencies surrounding the county provided resources and support as they searched for the boy in what Hughes called “tough” wooded terrain.
“Areas are flooded and filled with sinkholes, even the trained searchers are having trouble navigating safely,” a social media post from the Sheriff’s Office said Thursday before Casey found.
Temperatures dipped below freezing for at least six hours Tuesday night after he went missing.
More than 48 hours after the boy had vanished, Shane Grier, a captain of the Chocowinty EMS, heard Hathaway’s calls for his mother in a wooded area.
They had been alerted to the area by a tip, but had to cross through “a lot of water” to be able to rescue the boy, who was caught up in briars.
"(We) disentangled him from some briars and brought him out,” Grier said.
Casey’s family was overjoyed he had been found safe and alive after two days on his own.
His mother, Brittany Hathaway, thanked everyone who took the time to look for her son.
“He’s good. He’s good. He’s up and talking. He’s already asked to watch Netflix, so he’s good,” she said at the press conference.
Grier said when he found the boy he was cold but was “verbal” and was in good shape considering his ordeal.
Hughes attributed the boy’s safe return to the efforts of multiple agencies, volunteers and law enforcement officers who searched tirelessly to bring him home.
“I can tell you, it’s just very, very touching,” he said. “I want to thank all the volunteers that came out, I can’t thank them enough. Craven County stepped up. They did”
[Photo: Craven County Sheriff’s Office]
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