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Missing North Carolina 3-year-old Casey Lynn Hathaway found alive

Missing North Carolina 3-year-old Casey Lynn Hathaway found alive

"Casey is a small child", Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said at a Wednesday news conference. When Casey didn't come inside with the other children, his grandmother searched the home and outside, but the little boy was nowhere to be seen, officials said.

Casey Hathaway was found and taken to a nearby hospital late Thursday night, authorities said.

But, police say, he is in good spirits and has been reunited with his family.

A 3-year-old boy was found alive, caught in a briar patch and calling for his mother, two days after he vanished from his grandmother's yard in North Carolina. If you see Casey or have information to help us locate him, call the tip line at 252-636-6703 or the Craven County SO at 252-633-0498. Today, hundreds of professional searchers and volunteers walked through rough terrain around the home to try and locate Casey.

"No tip is insignificant", Hughes said. "The more we warmed him up, the more active he became", Grier said.

Casey Hathaway disappeared Tuesday afternoon after he had been playing outside his grandmother's house with relatives.

Facing heavy rain, gusty winds and low visibility, rescuers and law enforcement combed the hard Craven County, North Carolina, terrain - focusing on up to 1,000 acres of heavily wooded areas.

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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.

Casey was receiving medical treatment at the CarolinaEast Medical Center, with his family in the room.

As the hours passed, authorities feared that Casey, who weighs 25 pounds and stands 28 inches tall, wasn't dressed warmly enough for the weather conditions. Some volunteers had to be turned away because of the hard conditions search teams are facing.

Authorities have employed helicopters, drones and K-9 units, Craven County Emergency Management Director Stanley Kite said Wednesday. The search was interrupted Thursday by heavy rains and wind, and volunteers were told to stop searching because of safety concerns.

'Additional search assets will return in the morning.

"It's heartbreaking. I have two children so I can only imagine what the family is going through and we're a small community so you don't really expect anything bad to happen here", Jonathan Ipock, youth pastor of New Haven Church, told WTVD.

The sheriff's office has also asked people to check their property, cars and storage sheds for Casey.

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