A 3-year-old North Carolina boy who went missing while playing in his grandmother’s backyard has been found alive, according to the FBI in Charlotte.
Casey Hathaway was found and taken to a nearby hospital late Thursday night, authorities said.
“Casey has been found alive. He was located by professional search and rescue crews off Toler and Aurora Roads. He is in good health, is talking and being evaluated by doctors at Carolina East Medical Center, Shelly Lynch with the FBI told ABC News in a statement. “He is with his family. Thank you all for helping us #FindCasey.”
Casey was out playing with two other children on Tuesday afternoon when he vanished from his grandmother’s home in Craven County, North Carolina. Officials said the boy’s grandmother and others searched for him for about 45 minutes before calling 911.
Police said he was found in the woods — 40 or 50 yards from the road — about a quarter of a mile away from where he went missing. Rescuers said he was cold, but talking when he was found.
“We brought Casey to his family, just like we said we were going to do. We did not give up and we were very persistent,” Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said at a press conference Thursday night. “The little fella is happy and his parents are very happy as well.”
The young boy’s family said he appeared in good spirits and was already asking to watch television.
“We’re very thankful that you took the time out to come search for Casey and prayed for him,” his mother, Brittany Hathaway, said at the press conference. “He’s good! He is good. He’s up and talking, he’s already asked to watch Netflix.”
The boy was found in a wooded location provided in a tip from a citizen as the search widened in area, authorities said.
“As soon as the deputy stepped out, he heard Casey asking for his mother,” Hughes said.
Nearly 600 volunteers had participated in a search for Casey earlier this week, mulling through wooded areas in brutally cold temperatures for signs of the young boy.
“The terrain was woods. It was thick in places,” volunteer searcher Max Dudley told ABC affiliate WTVD. “Some places it wasn’t that thick, but we took our time and you see the next person, and you look and you look and you look.”
Those factors, coupled with the potential for dangerous weather, caused officials to only allow professionals to search on Thursday, according to WTVD.
The Craven County Sheriff’s Office had urged residents to check their property, cars and storage sheds for Casey in case he had wandered away.