Relief and joy in North Carolina: Casey Hathaway, the 3-year-old boy who wandered off into woods behind his grandmother's home in Ernul on Tuesday afternoon, has been found alive. The Craven County Sheriff's Office says Casey was found in good health Thursday by a professional search and rescue crew, USA Today reports. He was taken to East Carolina Medical Center for evaluation. The boy, who was not dressed for cold weather, disappeared in terrain that the sheriff's office described as treacherous. "Areas are flooded and filled with sinkholes, even the trained searchers are having trouble navigating safely," the sheriff's office said earlier Thursday, as strong winds and rain hampered the search.
Casey was found around 50 yards into the woods, tangled in briars, when searchers, who had been acting on a tip, heard him calling for his mother. Authorities believed he moved around during the time he was missing. "He was cold but he was verbal in command to us. The more we warmed him up, the more active he became," rescuer Shane Greer tells WRAL. "For the conditions, I think he fared pretty well." The boy's parents hugged rescuers Thursday night and thanked everybody involved in the search. "We're very thankful that you took the time out to come search for Casey and prayed for him," his mother said. "He's good. He's up and talking. He's already asked to watch Netflix, he's good." (A boy in Japan survived on a mountain for three days after getting lost on his second birthday.)