Ernul, NC – Three-year-old Casey Hathaway, who went missing from his home on Tuesday afternoon, has been found alive on Thursday night.
He was taken to the hospital and is expected to be released by Saturday.
A hospital spokeswoman said that Hathaway was in good condition, according to WNCT.
“Little fella is happy,” said Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes, according to WNCT. “Then he saw his little sister, had a big smile on his face.”
Hathaway was missing for three days and was “hanging out” with a bear, according to Sheriff Hughes.
The three-year-old was found off Aurora Road by an emergency responder.
Linda Fraker was walking her dogs along Aurora Road when she thought she heard a child crying. She called 911, according to WITN.
Chocowinity EMS Captain Shane Grier was responding to a tip when he heard a boy crying for his mother, according to WNCT. Cpt. Grier followed the sound of the cry through the thick brush and to a body of water where he found Hathaway. He got Hathaway out of some briars and took him out of the woods.
“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,” said his mother, Brittany Hathaway, according to WNCT. “He is good, he is up and talking. He’s already asked to watch Netflix so he’s good. He is good.”
At the time Casey went missing, his great-grandmother was inside the home while Casey and two other children were playing outside. Casey didn’t come back in the house when the other two children went inside. The family looked for Casey for about 45 minutes before calling 911.
Many law enforcement agencies and hundreds of volunteers joined the search for him. The terrain was described as treacherous and some volunteers were told to stop searching out of safety concerns, according to NPR. Some areas were flooded and had sinkholes, NPR reported.
There is no sign that he was abducted.