Three-year-old Casey Lynn Hathaway was missing three days before searchers found him on January 24, 2019. He was tangled up in briars deep in the woods, but he was safe and sound. After he was found, Casey had an incredible story to tell everyone.
The youngster was apparently playing outside in the yard with two other children, and the children Casey had been playing with returned to the house without him. The family frantically searched for little Casey for 45 minutes before great-grandmother Ann Toler Edwards, 57, called 911, involving the authorities and the FBI.
“Casey Hathaway is described as a white male with blond hair and brown eyes. He is 28 inches tall and weighing 25 pounds.”
This small child was lost in the woods and all alone!
While the Craven County, North Carolina, community gathered to search and hold prayer vigils, the FBI kept volunteers from participating in the search on the second day because of the heavy rain and strong winds pummeling the area where Casey was lost.
“You have so many people volunteering from our community and surrounding areas because they were putting themselves in the shoes of the family,” youth pastor Jonathan Ipock told The Epoch Times. “What would happen if that was one of their children? It’s just amazing to see everyone come together to help.”
For three frigid days and two nights where temperatures hovered in the ‘20s, Casey wasn’t “appropriately dressed to brace the wintery weather.”
“We went through the woods — through the thicket and the briars,” volunteer Donna Harris told WTVD. “We did it for three-and-a-half, four hours and it was bad. It was really bad out there…As it got darker, it was scary out there. I just can’t imagine a 3-year-old being out there.”
Shane Grier, captain of Chocowinity EMS, is the person who found Casey after getting a tip that someone had heard a child’s voice.
“We responded to a tip and found him by voice,” Grier said. “Disentangled him from some briars and brought him out.”
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.”
“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.
While this story has a very happy ending, one of the most surprising details is what the family revealed after Casey came home.
“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,” she wrote on Facebook. “God is [a] good God. Miracles do happen.”
Miracles do happen because God is good! We’re so grateful that Casey is safe at home once again.