Casey Hathaway: Missing North Carolina Three-year-old Was Crying for His Mother in the Woods When Rescuers Found Him

Officials have spoken about the dramatic search for North Carolina 3-year-old Casey Hathaway, who went missing on Tuesday and miraculously found alive three days later in some woods near his grandmother's house in Craven County.

After he was reported missing, a large search and rescue operation was put together, involving numerous organizations including the FBI, NCIS and the Marine Corps, as well as several volunteers, CNN reported. They faced difficult terrain, poor visibility and bad weather, including near-freezing temperatures. Thankfully, their efforts were a success.

Read more: 3-year-old Casey Hathaway found alive in North Carolina

At a press conference on Thursday evening, Shane Grier, captain of Chocowinity Emergency Medical Services and a member of the rescue operation, spoke about the moment when the search team found the child—who was calling out for his mother—in a wooded area off a road.

"We located by voice this young man, went to him, disentangled him from some briers that he was hung up in, brought him out… here we are," Grier told reporters.

Stanley Kite, Emergency Services Director, said Hathaway was found just after 9:00 p.m. and, amazingly, despite not having suitable clothes for cold temperatures, appeared to be in good health.

"Just a little bit after 9 o'clock is when I got the information by radio that he had been located and the fact he was talking and he was able to give them his name," Kite told local news outlet WCTI. "We were very impressed by that, it was very positive information given the amount of time he had been exposed to the environment, to the elements and conditions. It's really and truly a miracle."

Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes highlighted the significant contribution of those who had provided the search team with tips.

"It was folks giving us tips and leads and the rescue teams jumping right on it and following every lead. And I tell you we had a lot of them come in, we hit every one of them immediately and diligently, and it paid off," he told reporters. "I could not be happier by the way this turned out."

"We initially went into the search where he was last seen and that's where we started working it out methodically," Hughes said. "So, this was definitely an area, we got a call, a tip, our deputies and the captain [Grier] went straight to the location. As soon as the captain stepped out, he heard Casey asking for his mother. He was about 40 or 50 yards into the woods, I had to go through a lot of water to get to him, and then [he] was there in some vines and thorn bushes."

After being found, the 3-year-old was taken to Carolina East Medical Center in New Bern, NC, where he was evaluated by doctors, WCTI reported.

According to Hughes, Hathaway was not very talkative immediately after being found and hasn't explained how he got lost.

"He hasn't said a whole lot, except when his little sister came in there he really brightened up then," Hughes said.

Brittany Hathaway, Casey's mother, thanked all of those who had contributed to the search effort and confirmed that her son was recovering well.

"I just want to tell everybody that we're very thankful that you took the time out to come search for Casey and prayed for him, and he's good, he's up and talking, he's already asked to watch Netflix, so he's good," she said at the press conference.

The 3-year-old went missing on Tuesday while playing in the garden of his grandmother's house in Ernul, NC. Forty-five minutes passed before a relative called 911 to alert police of his disappearance.

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Three-year-old Casey Hathaway went missing on Tuesday and was found in some woods near his grandmother's house in North Carolina three days later. iStock