CRAVEN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Missing 3-year-old Casey Hathaway was found alive Thursday night near the home where he disappeared in Craven County, according deputies.
The little boy reportedly disappeared from his grandmother’s yard in North Carolina Tuesday afternoon.
The Craven County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference about finding Casey Thursday night.
“Little fellow is happy, and his parents are very happy as well. When he saw his little sister, had a big smile on his face, and I can tell you it’s just very very touching,” Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said. “I want to thank all of the volunteers that came out. I cannot thank them enough. Craven County stepped up.”
Officials said they were diligent working around the clock to find Casey during the two days he was reported missing.
Authorities say they responded on a tip and located Casey by voice. They say they heard Casey ask for his mother and found him in the woods slightly tangled in some vines.
Casey was cold when deputies say they found him, but they say he was verbal and responsive to them.
“The more we warmed him, up, the more active he became,” a deputy said.
Casey’s mother and father spoke during the press conference Thursday night.
“We just want to tell everybody that we are very thankful that you took the time out to come search for Casey and prayed for him. He’s good, he’s up and talking, and he’s already asked to watch Netflix so he’s good,” the mother said.
The father added appreciation and thanks for the people who aided in the search.
Casey Lynn Hathaway of Craven County was reported missing around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday from an area on Toler Road in Ernul. “An intense search began and has expanded by the minute,” deputies posted late Wednesday.
Craven County deputies believe Hathaway walked into the woods behind his grandmother’s home. They say the wooded area contains sinkholes, water sources and deep ditches.
“I don’t think the child was adequately clothed to be out in this,” Sheriff Chip Hughes said in reference to the conditions and recent frigid temperatures.
Deputies say hundreds of searchers and volunteers searched for Casey Wednesday, walking through rough terrain. Professional searchers continued searching through the night and volunteers returned to the staging area (2755 Aurora Road, Ernul, North Carolina) at 8 a.m. Thursday to continue the search.
“Residents living in the area are asked to check storage sheds, vehicles, and their property for the child,” deputies posted on Facebook.
Deputies said they were in “emergency search” mode for the toddler. A helicopter with a heat-seeking camera scoured the search area after the boy was reported missing.
“Casey was outside playing in the yard with two other children and was discovered missing when the other children came inside and Casey was nowhere to be found,” the Missing Pieces Network posted on Facebook. “They searched the rural, wooded area for 45 minutes and called the police when Casey couldn’t be located.”
Casey was checked out by medical officials Thursday night but his parents say he is doing well, and apparently already asking to watch Netflix.
According to station WITN, Hathaway is expected to be released from the hospital on Saturday.