'He's good, he's good:' Missing Craven County 3-year-old found alive

Friday, January 25, 2019
Missing Craven County 3-year-old found alive
Missing 3-year-old Casey Hathaway has been found alive, three days after he disappeared from his grandmother's home.

ERNUL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Missing 3-year-old Casey Hathaway has been found alive, three days after he disappeared from his grandmother's Craven County home.

The FBI confirmed that Casey has been found alive. He was located by professional search and rescue crews off Toler and Aurora Roads 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 is at CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern being 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, is 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?"

"No," the caller stated.

Casey was first reported missing Tuesday afternoon after the two children he was outside playing with went inside Casey's grandmother's house without him.

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.