A 3-year-old boy who went missing in the woods for two days in sub-zero temperatures has been hailed as a "survivor" by police.
Casey Hathaway, 3, disappeared last Tuesday from his grandmother's backyard while he was playing with other children, the Craven County Sheriff's Office said. The FBI, along with state investigators and the U.S. Marine Corps from nearby bases at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point, searched through the woods to find the 3-year-old last week.
Casey told his family that he "hung out with a bear for two days." Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said Casey "did say that he had a friend in the woods that was a bear that was with him."
Hughes also reporters Thursday that rescuers were able to locate the boy after hearing the sound of someone calling out for their mother. Hughes says the boy was tangled up in some vines and thorns about a half-mile away from where he went missing.
Casey was "wet, cold and scratched up," but was able to talk to deputies, Hughes said.
"He hasn’t said a whole lot except when his little sister came in there he really brightened up then," Hughes said at a news conference Thursday night. "It was a very touching moment."
On Friday, Casey's aunt posted an update on Facebook about her nephew's case.
"Casey is healthy, smiling and talking," Breanna Hathaway wrote. "He said he hung out with a bear for two days God sent him a friend to keep him safe. God is good God. Miracles do happen."
"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 added in her post.