Missing three-year-old Casey Hathaway has been found alive and is in good spirits, according to Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes.
Hathaway was taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center and is expected to be released Friday or Saturday.
CarolinaEast Medical Center public relations director Megan McGarvey said Hathaway is in good condition.
“Little fella is happy,” said Hughes. “Then he saw his little sister, had a big smile on his face.”
According to Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes, Casey said he spent two days hanging out with a bear.
“I think he’s doing pretty good,” Hughes added.
The family is asking for privacy during this time.
The toddler was found off Aurora Road, close to the intersection with Toler Road.
Chocowinity EMS Cpt. Shane Grier was responding to a tip when he heard the boy crying for his mother.
He followed the cry through the thick brush and a body of water, leading him to Casey.
He disentangled Casey from some briars and brought him out of the woods.
At a news conference late Thursday night, his parents expressed their gratitude for everyone who helped.
“We 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,” said his mother, Brittany Hathaway. “He is good, he is up and talking. He’s already asked to watch Netflix so he’s good. He is good.”
Aside from a few scrapes and bruises, he is said to be in good health.
Dr. Timothy Reeder, with the ECU Department of Emergency Medicine, explained just how long people can go without having anything to eat.
“Surprisingly, many of us can go a long time without needing food,” said Reeder. “That’s not a primary thing. So, I’m sure he was hungry, but the human body can go days without actually having food.”
Reeder said although children may experience symptoms from lack of food more quickly than adults, they can still go several days before the body is affected in any major way.
Casey went missing Tuesday afternoon from a home on Toler Road in the town of Ernul, which is located in Craven County.
His great-grandmother was inside the home while Casey and two other children played outside.
When the two other kids came in, Casey stayed out.
They looked for about 45 minutes before calling 911.
You can listen to the call here.
Since then, numerous law enforcement agencies, as well as hundreds of volunteers, had been on the lookout for the child.