Three-year-old Casey Hathaway, who went missing for two days, says he "hung out with a bear" while in the woods.
Casey was playing with other children on Tuesday, January 22, when he wandered away from his grandmother's yard in Ernul, North Carolina. He was found alive after two days following a massive search effort.
According to Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes, the search and rescue teams found Casey tangled in vines and thorn bushes.
"He hasn't said a whole lot except when his little sister came in there he really brightened up then," Hughes told reporters. "It was a very touching moment."
#CaseyHathaway Update: he has been found alive on a roadside and is in route to a hospital for observation and trea… https://t.co/8KbRrVTzbD— S.T.O.R.M. Search & Rescue CERT (@S.T.O.R.M. Search & Rescue CERT) 1548384381.0
Hughes noted that Casey was "a little lethargic, but warm" with only light scrapes when he was found and that he'd asked "for water and his mom."
Casey's aunt, Breanna Hathaway, wrote on Facebook that the three-year-old said "he hung out with a bear for two days,"
"God sent him a friend to keep him safe. … Miracles do happen," she added.
"He said he hung out with a bear for two days," Casey Hathaway's aunt posted on Facebook after the 3-year-old was f… https://t.co/Jk4050yIG4— HuffPost (@HuffPost) 1548633010.0
Sheriff Hughes said Casey "didn't really get into... how he was able to survive," but that he'd mentioned "having a friend in the woods who was a bear."
Was there really a bear, though? Who can really say? Breanna Hathaway did note, though, that Casey is a fan of the animated series Masha and the Bear, about a young girl who lives in the woods and has a bear as a protector.
Masha and The Bear - 📚Back to School! 🍎www.youtube.com
"We appreciate the thoughts but we do want to recognize that everyone wants to get Casey a stuff little bear and although we absolutely love that remember that he can only home so many," Breanna Hathaway wrote on Facebook.
There were no signs of abduction, and people are just relieved that this story has a happy ending:
Total time missing: 55 hours. Full details starting to come into the newsroom. I'm just floored and so thankful. #CaseyHathaway— Matt Engelbrecht (@Matt Engelbrecht) 1548385466.0
Tune in to @WITN now for a live report! 3-year old Casey Hathaway has been found alive!! This is absolutely AMAZING news! God is good.— billy weaver (@billy weaver) 1548383917.0
Just saw reports that Casey Hathaway was found alive. 🙌🏾🙌🏾 Thank u, Lord. I prayed for that baby.— Emma Jean (@Emma Jean) 1548384116.0
Local anchor crying on live tv on news that Casey Hathaway was found alive.— Duncan Patrick (@Duncan Patrick) 1548384605.0
We're thrilled to know Casey has such a loving family and that he lives in such a supportive community. He'll definitely have something to write about when he's older!