Missing NC 3-year-old Casey Hathaway found alive, sheriff says

Missing NC 3-year-old Casey Hathaway found alive, sheriff says

Kerry Wise
January 26, 2019

Casey had been playing outside the home with two children he is related to and he did not come back inside with them. If you see Casey or have information to help us locate him, call the tip line at 252-636-6703 or the Craven County SO at 252-633-0498.

On day three, a tip led the search team to a spot where they were able to hear the 3-year-old calling out for his mother, Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes told reporters at a news conference Thursday night.

The FBI confirmed that Casey has been found alive. Volunteers should meet at the staging area at 8:00 tomorrow morning at New Haven Church located at 2755 Aurora Road, Ernul, North Carolina.

Casey Hathaway disappeared Tuesday afternoon after he had been playing outside his grandmother's house with relatives.

"We brought Casey to his family, just like we said we were going to do", he said.

Casey was found just before 9:30 p.m. Thursday. "The little fella is happy and his parents are very happy as well".

Hughes said authorities are treating Casey's disappearance as a missing child case but ask the community to report anything "remotely suspicious".

Rescuers walked through waist-high water to reach him, the sheriff later said. "He's good! He is good".

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Hughes said his team was concerned about the "extreme cold" as temperatures dipped near freezing, but against all odds, they found him.

Sheriff Hughs said they were conducting a missing child investigation and would not say if they believed anything more sinister might have happened.

Casey had been asking for his mother, Hughes said.

"The terrain was woods. It was thick in places", volunteer searcher Max Dudley told ABC affiliate WTVD.

"At no time did we see any indications of an abduction", he said, which is why an Amber Alert wasn't issued.

Those factors, coupled with the potential for risky weather, caused officials to only allow professionals to search on Thursday, according to WTVD.

Facing heavy rain, gusty winds and low visibility, rescuers and law enforcement combed the hard Craven County, North Carolina, terrain - focusing on up to 1,000 acres of heavily wooded areas.