The three-year-old boy who was miraculously found safe and sound after he went missing for two days in North Carolina says he spent time with a bear while he was lost in the woods.
Casey Lynn Hathaway was found healthy and in ‘good spirits’ on Thursday after he went missing from his great-grandmother’s backyard on Tuesday, launching a massive search party in Craven County.
The toddler, who is recuperating in hospital, told police and his parents he spent his two days in the woods hanging out with a bear.
Found: North Carolina boy Casey Lynn Hathaway, three, says he hung out with a bear during the two days he was missing in the woods. Pictured above after he was found and rescued
Casey pictured in his hospital with his rescuer Chocowinity EMS Cpt. Shane Grier who disentangled the child from a thorn bush on Thursday evening and brought him to safety
‘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,’ Casey’s aunt Breanna Hathaway posted on Facebook on Thursday evening.
Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said that the child also told police he was with a bear in the time he was missing.
While he allegedly spent time in the company of a bear, nearly 600 volunteers, FBI, state officials, and divers combed the woods of eastern North Carolina for signs of the missing toddler.
Casey raised national alarm was he vanished from the backyard of his great-grandmother’s home in Ernul, North Carolina on Tuesday. He was playing with his sister and his cousin and the family called police when the two children returned inside the home without him.
His great-grandmother and family members searched the woods behind her home for 45 minutes before she frantically called 911.
He was found on Thursday after searchers followed the sounds of his cries and found the child stuck in thorn bushes in Craven County, just a quarter mile from where he was last seen.
Authorities found the child after someone reported hearing ‘Casey crying for his mother deep in the woods’ around 9.30pm, according to WSOC.
He was discovered by Chocowinity EMS Cpt. Shane Grier who disentangled the child from the briars he was stuck in and brought him out of the woods.
Casey’s aunt described how the toddler claimed he hung out with a bear during the two days he was missing in the woods
Casey pictured center with his mom Brittany Hathaway (left) and aunt Breanna Hathaway (right)
The boy’s parents, Brittany and Chris Hathaway (above) said their son was up and talking and had already talked about watching Netflix since he was found
Hero rescuer: The boy was found on Thursday evening by EMS Cpt. Shane Grier (above)
Casey was very wet, cold and bearing scratches, but otherwise in good condition.
Authorities believe he had been moving around during the time he was missing.
Casey was rescued by Chocowinity EMS Cpt. Shane Grier (above)
He was reunited with his family Thursday.
‘The little fella is happy and his parents are very happy as well,’ Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said.
‘When he saw his little sister, had a big smile on his face,’ he added during a press briefing Thursday evening.
His mother Brittany Hathaway said her son was up and talking and had already talked about watching Netflix.
‘We just want to tell everybody that we’re very thankful that you took the time out to come search for Casey and prayed for him, and he’s good. He is good, he is up and talking. He’s already asked to watch Netflix so he’s good,’ she said.
On Friday Casey spent the day in CarolinaEast Medical Center where he was described as ‘in good condition’.
He spent the day ‘eating Cheetos, nuggets, and watching PAW Patrol’, according to his family.
Three-year-old Casey Hathaway was found by professional search and rescue crews in Craven County in eastern North Carolina on Thursday night after an extensive two day search
The sheriff’s office launched an extensive search for the little boy that involved multiple law enforcement agencies and also Marines who were trained to operate in difficult conditions
Hundreds of locals had volunteered to help search for the boy but they had to be turned away on Thursday due to ‘challenging weather conditions’
When authorities searched for Casey they were concerned about the extremely cold temperatures that dipped into the freezing low 30s in the evenings.
Casey was only wearing a coat and sweatpants when he vanished and was still wearing the coat when he was found, authorities said.
When he first went missing, his family feared the worst.
‘We lost my two-year-old grandson. He was walking in the woods back there and we can’t find him. 3-year-old grandson,’ the panicked great-grandmother said in the 911 call audio, which was obtained by DailyMail.com.
She told the operator that Casey had been playing with his sister and cousin at the time.
‘The other ones come through the house but left him there and he walked off somewhere and we can’t find him,’ she added.