A three-year-old boy has been found alive after going missing for two days.
Casey Hathaway was found caught in a thorn bush in freezing temperatures on Thursday night following a two-day search of a wooded area. Hathaway, who lives in Craven County, North Carolina, was found soaking wet and calling for his mother about a quarter of a mile from where he was last seen.
Police believe that the boy had been moving around in the time he was missing. Search crews say that the boy is in "good health" and doing "very well", only suffering from a few cuts and scratches. The young boy went missing whilst playing in his great-grandmother's backyard, disappearing into the woods behind her house.
Casey had been missing for over 48 hours by the time he was found by officials, with concerns being raised about the rapidly dropping temperature. Casey was only wearing sweatpants and a coat when he disappeared, both of which were soaked through when he was found. He has since been reunited with his mother and sister, who say that he is "up and talking" and already asking about watching Netflix.
Casey was playing with his sister and cousin in his great-grandmother's backyard but he didn't come back in with them. His family searched for 45 minutes in the woodland behind the house before dialing 911.
After explaining that he had been playing with his sister and cousin, she said: "The other ones come through the house but left him there and he walked off somewhere and we can't find him."
After receiving the call, the Sheriff's office launched a search for the 3-year-old involving numerous law enforcement agencies, as well as Marines trained to operate in difficult conditions. Divers were also deployed to search in ponds and sinkholes that litter the woodland behind the house. Hundreds of Craven County locals volunteered to join the search but were turned away by officials due to "challenging weather conditions". The sheriff's office has said that only professional searchers were used because of the safety concerns.
Those who have been following Casey's story have been sharing their relief about his recovery on Twitter:
Craven County Sheriff, Chip Hughes, said: "the little fella is happy and his parents are very happy as well." Casey's mother, Brittany Hathaway, has thanked the search parties and police officials who helped find and return her little boy.