After Casey Hathaway went missing from his grandmother’s home in North Carolina for two days, the three-year-old was found safe and sound. The good news brought his family, and especially his grandmother, so much relief – as it did for the community at large. But locating the toddler was not an easy job. It is a heartwarming story that required a frantic search, the kindness of a bear, and ends with Casey safe and sound back at home.
The incident started on January 22, 2019. Casey wandered away from his grandmother’s property in the town of Ernul, North Carolina. Casey’s grandmother had left him alone in the backyard where he was supposed to be playing with two other children. But the precocious three-year-old wandered off, and grandma could not find him. Because his grandmother lives on a remote property, Casey easily wandered into the woods in the back. So when she finally came back outside to check on the toddler, he was nowhere to be found. She immediately searched everywhere she could and when she had no luck – Casey’s grandmother contacted the police.
Rescue teams were immediately dispatched. But they had no luck. As the sun began to set, they knew that Casey’s chances of surviving were slimmer. It was going to be cold in Ernul, and the boy was not dressed properly for nighttime. When the sun rose the next morning, rescuer workers renewed their search. But by nightfall, Casey was still not found. As temperatures were again projected to dip below freezing, everyone knew that Casey’s survival rate was plummeting.
Then a miracle happened. Two days after he went missing, rescue workers found Casey hiding in a tangle of thorny bushes. He was alive!
After a visit to the hospital where he was found to be fine, Casey returned home and rested. Now that he has regained his strength, he is ready to share his story with you.
Casey’s aunt, Breana Hathaway, said that the three-year-old claimed that he made a friend while in the woods – and that friend kept him warm. The friend was not a human, but a bear. His aunt said that Casey claims “he hung out with a bear for two days.”
She wrote on Facebook:
“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. God is (a) good God. Miracles do happen.”
Casey’s aunt is not the only person reporting the boy’s new friend. Maj. David McFadyen with the Craven County Sheriff’s Office also mentioned it.
“He made a comment about having a friend while he was in the woods — his friend was a bear,” Maj. McFadyen told CNN Monday. “In the emergency room he started talking about what happened in the woods, and he said he had a friend that was a bear with him while he was in the woods.”
McFadyen added, “We are very pleased he had that type of comfort. There were very brutal conditions out there. The first night it dropped down to 20 degrees, the second night we had 2 inches of rain.”
What do you think about this boy’s new friend?
Every time you share an AWM story, you help build a home for a disabled veteran.