Missing North Carolina 3-year-old, Casey Hathaway, found alive

ERNUL, N.C. -- A missing 3-year-old boy was found alive, three days after he disappeared from his grandmother's North Carolina home.

The FBI confirmed Casey Hathaway was located by professional search and rescue crews on Thursday evening in Craven County.

"It's a great evening, folks," said Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes. "We brought Casey to his family like we said we were going to do. Had a big smile on his face when he saw his sister."



Casey was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated.

The FBI said he is in good health and is talking and has been reunited with family.

"He's good, he's good, he's up and talking. He's already asking to watch Netflix," said Casey's mother, Brittany Hathaway, at a news conference late Thursday night.

WATCH: FBI gives update after missing boy is found alive




Professional searchers covered wooded areas Thursday night in the search for Casey. Hundreds of volunteers helped in the effort Tuesday and Wednesday, but were told to stay away Thursday for safety reasons because of treacherous terrain and conditions.

Shane Grier, captain of Chocowinity EMS, was the person who found Casey.

"We responded to a tip and found him by voice," Grier said. "Disentangled him from some briars and brought him out."

Many questions remain unanswered. Sheriff Hughes said he doesn't believe Casey was in that area the whole time.

"I think he moved around," Hughes said.

Grier said as soon as he got to the location, he heard Casey calling for his mom.

"He was cold. He was verbal," Grier said. "Considering the conditions, I think he's doing very well."

K-9 units with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children helped in the search.



The 911 call that was made in reference to Casey's disappearance, which was released Thursday, shed new light on the situation. The caller said that family members had been searching for Casey for almost an hour before calling police

"It's been at least 45 minutes, cause we've been looking all in the woods for him," the caller said.

The operator then asked where the child disappeared.

"Is it directly behind your house?"

"Yeah...well on the side...yeah," the caller said.

Later in the conversation, the caller hinted that Casey's disappearance was out of character for him.

"Does he usually do this?" the operator asked.

"No," the caller stated.

Casey was first reported missing Tuesday afternoon. Officials say he had been playing outside with two other children, but he did not follow the two when they went inside Casey's grandmother's house.

According to National Weather Service data, the night Casey went missing, temperatures in Craven County were below freezing for roughly six hours.

Hughes said early in the search that he was concerned the child wasn't dressed properly for the weather.

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