"We are very fortunate for where we are"
Somehow, Casey survived despite frigid temperatures for two days in the woods.
A community rejoices
"...At a time like this, when it seems there is no good, y'all have been our good." ...At a time like this, when it seems there is no good, y'all have been our good."
Casey Hathaway spent two excruciating days lost, alone in the woods of Craven County before he was finally found safe Thursday night.
Casey went missing after he was playing with two other children in his grandmother's yard. When the kids went inside, Casey wasn't with them. By the time his grandmother went outside to get him, he was gone.
“They play out there all the time. They go back and fourth from my house to my daughter’s house," Julie Toler said. "I’m glad he’s fine because it would have been terrible for everybody if something happened to him."
“I felt guilty," Toler said. "I didn't want to get warm because I knew he was cold. I didn’t want to eat because I knew he was hungry. It was just terrible.”
Hundreds of searchers covered miles of wooded and rough terrain on the ground and in the air before finally, a woman heard a small voice crying out for help.
"We are very fortunate for where we are": Somehow, Casey survived despite frigid temperatures for two days in the woods.
It was around 9:30 p.m. on January 24 when Noah Dennis' mother heard Casey crying.
"She took the dogs out (and) we were walking the dogs and she heard the baby crying," Dennis told WRAL. "She heard Casey cry."
A few minutes later, Captain Shane Grier of Chocowinity EMS found Casey about a quarter-mile from his grandmother's house. He was about 50 yards into the woods, tangled up in briars and crying for his mom. The terrain was described as treacherous with flooded areas and sinkholes.
"He was cold, but he was verbal in command to us," Grier said. "The more we warmed him up, the more active he became. I think, for the conditions, I think he fared very well. We're very fortunate for where we are."
Casey was taken to a local hospital where he spent an extra night and was expected to go home Saturday. He was found mostly OK with just a few scrapes.
"It's a great evening, folks. We've brought Casey to his family, just like we said we were going to do," said Sheriff Chip Hughes. "We did not give up."
A community rejoices: "...At a time like this, when it seems there is no good, y'all have been our good." ...At a time like this, when it seems there is no good, y'all have been our good."
In a crowd of people praying and worshiping Friday night was Casey's aunt, Breanna Hathaway. She described herself as shy, but felt everyone who helped search for the 3-year-old boy should know how much they're appreciated.
"A while ago, me and my mom were at the hospital and we were looking at the news on social media and Casey saw his picture and he said, 'Aunt Bre, that's me' and I said 'Casey, all these people were looking for you and helped trying to find you." And he said 'yay,'" she said.
“I know that it was a miracle from God," Toler said. "That’s the only thing that could have saved the boy out there in that mess.”
Casey's parents struggled to find the words to describe their emotions.
"We're very thankful that you took the time out to come search for Casey and prayed for him," said his mother.
"I could not be happier by the way this turned out," Hughes said.