Casey Lynn Hathaway from North Carolina was playing in his backyard one afternoon when suddenly disappeared from his parent's sight. They were worrying and getting hysterical as moments passed - they never thought that leaving their kid playing by himself for a while would lead to the longest 48 hours they will have in their whole life. Thankfully, Casey was miraculously found safe with minor bruises only. However, when the kid regained his strength, he kept on talking about something that saved him in the forest.
A 3-Year Old Kid Was Lost in the Woods, This Is What He Claims to Be His Rescue StoryPublished 4 months ago
Casey Lynn Hathaway is a three-year-old boy from Craven County, North Carolina. At his age, his family describes him as a smart boy who always has a lot of questions. He is an adorable kid that is loved by all.
Aside from eating his favorite chicken nuggets, Casey also loves to watch children’s movies and cartoons on Netflix. Aside from indoor activities, he is also hungry for outdoor play and is very active especially when other kids visit him in the house. His mom allows him to play in the backyard for a few hours every day even without an adult company. However, the unfortunate event that happened on a Tuesday afternoon would surely make his parents rethink of letting him play outside without close supervision.
Craven County is a simple and quiet neighborhood in North Carolina. Unlike most places in the USA that had changed a lot due to modernization, the locals who live in this community tend to be conservative.
The rural feel and the peacefulness in the place are some of the reasons why Britanny and Chris Hathaway are thankful that they got to live in Craven County. They are the parents of Casey and they consider it a privilege to live with their parents and grandparents in the simple community. The neighborhood is quite small, everyone knows one another and even the crime rate is low. Never did they imagine that one day, both of them will wonder whether it’s still safe or not to let her son alone outdoors.
Britanny loves her peaceful life in their humble home near the woods. She had her relatives close to her and they usually visit each other and eat together. That morning, her son’s cousins went to their house and she led them to the backyard so that they could play.
She was busy cleaning the house, chatting with her grandmother and cooking something for lunch. Casey was playing outside with two children who are slightly older than him. It was already a routine and she didn’t feel any kind of trouble. She was happy that her kid got company. However, when the two kids entered the house, she sensed that something was wrong.
Britanny went out the backyard to look for Cassie. However, he was out of sight. She kept on calling his name while circling the house. She went inside, checked the rooms and even went to the front porch as well. Still, there was no sign of the little boy.
Chris, along with the other people in the house started to feel the panic in her voice. Casey is just three years old and he doesn’t have the habit of going to the neighbor’s house without telling his mom. The others got up and went to the nearby houses to search for him. When minutes passed and they can’t locate him, Brittany painfully realized where his son might be.
North Carolina is known for its agriculture and forestry industry. Craven County is a rural community where most residents rely on farming for a living. Just like many others, Brittany’s family home is located near woodland. When Casey was nowhere to be found in the house and in the neighborhood, they suspected that the child had trailed off to the nearby forest.
At once, Brittany, Chris, and their other relatives sprang to the woods to look for Cassie. They kept on shouting at the top of their voice hoping that the little kid was just hiding or stuck somewhere. With each passing minute, Brittany’s heart is being surrounded by fear. The young couple can’t afford to think that something bad had happened to him.
Forty-five minutes had passed and still, no one in the family was able to locate the little boy. Casey’s great grandmother knew that with each passing minute, the life of the kid is being driven closer to danger. She was left in the house while the others decided to search the woodlands. However, she knew that the situation is getting out of control.
With trembling hands, the old lady dialed 911. She told the agent that the little boy was walking in the woods back there and when the other kids returned home, Casey was left alone. After the call, a search rescue was planned right away.
In a small county where there is not too much trouble, the news of a missing boy in the woods instantly made headlines. Aside from the rescuers sent by 911, volunteers from FBI, NCIS, US Marine Corps came to the family’s residence to help locate the little boy.
Brittany told the authorities that Casey is 2 feet 4 inches tall and that he weighs 25 pounds. She also showed them a picture of the adorable boy and pleaded to please find him. Her heart was racing all the time his son was out there in the treacherous terrain. Even the condition of the weather outside was alarming.
More than 100 rescuers went into the rugged terrain to look for Casey. The heavily wooded areas measure almost 1000 acres and they need to find the little boy as fast as they can. Aside from the wild animals that might harm the boy, the temperature had dropped to 20 degrees and they feared that Casey wouldn’t be able to stand the extreme cold.
However, after a day of continuous search and rescue operation, the volunteers returned weary and unsuccessful. They were wondering how the three-year-old boy had walked those miles and where did he possibly go. Because of the sad news in the first 24 hours, more volunteers came to look for him.
Aside from the professional rescuers from different government organizations, the locals volunteered to join the rescue operation. However, as the weather continues to go bad, the authorities were forced to send the volunteers home. Only the trained searchers were left to continue the operation.
All throughout, Brittany couldn’t sleep or eat. Her son was only wearing a coat and sweatpants when he vanished. Chris, on the other hand, didn’t stop to rest. He’s determined to search the woods as long as he can. He had big hopes in his heart that his son is just somewhere out there, safe and sound.
When 24 hours had passed and the rescuers weren’t able to find Casey, his family began to fear the worst. The extremely cold temperatures can be fatal, especially to a little boy. Also, Brittany knew that Casey is not able to look for his own food.
Craven County Emergency Management Director Stanley Kite had treated Casey's disappearance as a missing child case. However, he also asked the community to report anything "remotely suspicious. Moreover, the authorities have used drones and K-9 units and even employed helicopters. Everyone in the rescue team knew that time is crucial. They needed to find Casey as soon as possible.
Casey disappeared on a Tuesday morning. After a day of the never-ceasing search operation, hundreds came to help the little boy. The number of professional rescuers and volunteers totaled more than 600! The boy’s parents were quite relieved to see how many people are willing to help them locate their son. However, all that matters to them is for their son to be found alive.
On Thursday evening, hope rose when the authorities received a tip from someone who heard a boy crying for his mother deep in the woods. It was around 9:30 pm. Needless to say, the team went into the area with renewed effort and energy. They can’t afford to risk another day.
Chocowinity EMS Cpt. Shane Grier was one of the professional rescuers who hoped and prayed for Casey’s safety. As a father, he knew that what is happening is one of a parent’s worst nightmares. Although exhausted, he went back into the woods and look for the little boy.
He was struggling on rough terrain when he saw him. The poor boy was stuck in the briars, looking cold and helpless. When he was finally near, he almost cried. Casey is alive. Quickly, he disentangled him from the bush and brought him out of the woods.
Brittany and Chris cried for joy when they saw Casey in the arms of Cpt. Shane Grier. He was soaking wet, conscious, and crying for his mom. They saw that the little boy was dirty and his body showed evidence of frostbites. He was still wearing the same coat.
Right away, Casey was put in the ambulance parked at bay. All of his family went straight to the hospital. Brittany knew that his son was starving and his bruises need immediate attention. However, she felt in her heart that the hardest part was over.
At the hospital, the doctors attended to Casey’s needs right away. However, they were relieved to see that the boy was in “good health”. Nonetheless, they did the necessary evaluation and examination to see if there are further injuries.
Casey was evidently exhausted. He dozed off and her parents allowed him to rest. He was put on IV and was advised to rest for a few days. But when he woke up, to everyone’s amazement, he started to talk about what happened to him while he was out there in the woods.
Brittany, Chris, and the other members of the family were all waiting for Casey to wake up. Although the doctors advised the parents to let the boy rest, Brittany was curious to know what really happened. She’s afraid that her son might get traumatized.
But when the little boy opened his eyes, he smiled as if nothing happened. He was even surprised to see that all of his relatives are looking at him. Before anyone could ask, Casey told everyone in an excited voice that he was not alone out there. There’s a friend who saved him. But who is this friend?
Although relieved, Brittany and Chris couldn’t help but wonder how their three-year-old son had survived the freezing cold with no food and water. Of course, there were different speculations in their mind. But when Casey told them that a friend was with him all throughout, they were keen to find who it was.
Clearly regaining his energy back, Casey told his parents that he was with a bear. Brittany and Chris asked him over and over again. Still, Casey’s answers were the same. There was a bear in the woods and they were together for 2 days.
The Hathaway family had given their deepest gratitude to all the officers, professional rescuers, and local volunteers who helped in saving Casey. Although she’s not fully convinced about her son’s story, she decided to tell them what Casey kept on telling them when he woke up.
Somehow, she wanted someone to confirm if her son’s story was real or if he was just imagining things because of the fatigue and trauma. However, even the officials couldn’t confirm whether the “companion” was real or not.
According to Sheriff Hughes, North Carolina is indeed home to black bears. There are many of them in the woods and typically, these bears are not aggressive towards humans.
However, he can’t also say a public statement to confirm if Casey’s claim is true. It could be, it could be not. He even added that what’s more important is that the little boy was already recuperating in the hospital, safe and sound. Even the other authorities considered Casey’s story as “cute” rather than factual.
When the story got out about Casey’s version of the story, the attention of media channels and newspaper outlets was instantly caught. Of course, it’s not every day that a little boy is lost in the woods and while he’s there, a bear kept him company. Could the bear possibly have given Casey the food and water he needed to survive?
The experts even think if the little boy survived the extremely cold temperature because of the bear’s naturally warm body. However, even the policemen and professional rescuers didn’t find any trace that a bear roamed the area where Casey was found.
After two days in the hospital, Casey was back in his normal condition. Brittany was happy to see that her little kid seemed to forget the dark nights he spent alone in the woods. He even asked for his favorite nuggets and requested if he could finally watch his favorite TV show, Paw Patrol.
While the news that Casey had totally recuperated, still, what really happened to him baffled most people. There were even speculations that he didn’t spend two days in the woods. Other notions claimed that someone might have abducted him and left him in the woods just before the rescuers found him.
The policemen dealing with Casey’s disappearance case held a press conference to clear some things out once and for all. There were speculations that the boy spent two nights sitting in a vehicle or a house and was put there in the woods a couple of hours before he was rescued.
Sheriff Hughes told the media the official report. According to him, Casey’s body showed evidence that he spent 48 hours in the woods with nothing to protect him from the cold but his clothes. His core temperature was very long and there were frost bites on his fingers. They also said that the little boy didn’t just stay put. He roamed around, always an hour ahead of the rescue team before being caught in the bush.
Brittany decided not to ask his son about the bear once again. Although her mind couldn’t help but wonder, she realized that she wanted nothing more than his safety. If her kid was indeed with a bear, she can only whisper a silent prayer of thanks. If not, she also feels grateful that somehow, the inspiring thought that he was not alone had helped him survive.
The 48-hour period that her little boy was missing was the worst days of her life, according to Brittany. Chris feels the same. No matter what happened, they were extremely thankful that they have their son back.
Casey’s aunt, Breanna, couldn’t help but express on social media how relieved and grateful she felt that her nephew was safe. She snapped a photo of Casey in the hospital and put in the caption that he hung out with a bear. Needless to say, the post gathered different reactions from the audience.
Others think that the story is too good to be true. There are those who praised Casey for his bravery and will to survive while others expressed their fear that the boy was indeed kidnapped. The post that was once public is now private. Still, only Casey knew what happened to him.
The authorities had officially closed Casey’s case. They also sent their gratitude to the local volunteers and other organizations that joined the giant search and rescue operation. Everyone was happy with the way things ended. Even the other residents of Craven County felt proud and secure. When there’s a problem, they proved that the whole community will act as one.
Sheriff Hughes believed that the kid’s survival was a miracle. He considered the story with the bear an inspiration that helped Casey survive. According to him, no matter what happened, the three-year-old kid has some story to tell when he grows up. Sheriff Hughes also mentioned that he was amazed by the child’s bravery.
Oftentimes, the stories about a lost kid in the wilderness can only be seen in horror movies, fairy tales, or in a parent’s worst nightmare. However, it really does happen in real life. It’s sad and heartbreaking enough to know that a kid is missing and everyone rejoices when they managed to survive. However, there are cases when others seem to run out of luck.
Aside from Casey, there were other kids that went through the traumatizing experience of being lost all alone without food and water. Fortunately enough, their guardian angels didn’t abandon them and led them back to safety. Here are some.
Yamato Tanooka was only seven years old when he got lost in the woods in Hokkaido, Japan. It happened in 2016 when the family took their summer vacation. Yamato was extremely hardheaded and kept on throwing rocks at other people. In hopes of teaching him a lesson, his parent decided to abandon him on a road next to the woods. They wanted him to realize his mistake. They drove off for a while and after five minutes, they went back to see if Yamato had learned his lesson. But to their horror, he was nowhere to be seen.
Yamato truly believed that he was abandoned by his parents. So he decided to go deeper into the woods to search for a new home. Fortunately for him, he found an n empty military base with small huts. There was also a used mattress that allowed him to sleep comfortably. However, there was no food and the kid had survived by drinking rainwater.
In October 1999, three-year-old Jaryd Atadero was entrusted by his father, Allyn, to his friends who went hiking in Comanche Peak at t the Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado. Allyn was originally included in the plan but back out at the last minute. Jaryd was keen to go so in the end, his father’s friend decided to take him and promised to look after him.
However, it seems that the group forgot that there was a kid. No one can give a plausible estimate of how long he’s gone from sight when the police interviewed them. A huge search party with 50 dogs helped to find the missing boy. However, it was only years after when the authorities finally found Jaryd’s remains. Up to this day, there is no clear report about what happened. Some say he was snatched by a lion while others think he was murdered.
In September 2016, three-year-old Tserin from the small village of Khut in Siberia wandered after a puppy. Before he realized that he was straying too far, he was already deep down in the woods of Siberia, a forest known for having wild bears and wolves. Moreover, the temperature at night can drop well below freezing.
Tserin went missing for three days. With all points considered, no one in the village believed that he will be able to come back alive. However, the family and the rescuers never gave up and on the third day, his uncle found him curled up between the roots of a tree. The little boy told everyone that he had eaten his chocolate bar. Everyone was impressed by his bravery and stamina. As a sign of their relief, the whole village held a celebration for his safe return.
In 2005, 11-year-old Brennan Hawkins joined a Boy Scout Jamboree camping trip. They went to Bear River Boy Scout Reservation near Salt Lake City, Utah. The forest covers 17,000 acres. Since it’s an annual camping event, his parents allowed him to go. After all, there were superiors to accompany the boys and there was a total of 1, 400 students camping in the area.
The boy scouts were given their respective partner or “buddy”. Brennan’s partner, however, grew impatient at one of the activities and told Brennan to just follow him to the mess hall. Instead of going after his partner, the boy decided to skip dinner and explored the forest.