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A 3-year-old boy recently rescued after spending two days lost alone in the North Carolina woods has said that a bear protected him and kept him warm in the freezing conditions.
Casey Hathaway disappeared from his grandmother’s home while playing with two other children last week. The 3-year-old was eventually found about a mile and a half away. Casey was found to be in surprisingly good condition considering the fact that he was outside for two days during especially bad weather that included heavy rain and winds and temperatures that dipped into the 20’s
“He didn’t say how he was able to survive and all that. He did say that he had a friend in the woods that was a bear that was with him,” Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes told reporters. Adding:
“This kid was strong, he was meant to survive. … He’s got a story to tell.”
In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, Casey’s aunt, Breanna Hathaway, spoke of the bear that kept her nephew safe:
“He said he hung out with a bear for two days. God sent him a friend to keep him safe. God is good God. Miracles do happen… We appreciate the thoughts but we do want to recognize that everyone wants to get Casey a stuff little bear and although we absolutely love that remember that he can only home so many.”
Search teams from surrounding counties began searching for Casey after he was reported missing. He was finally found after a woman walking her dog reported hearing a boy crying for his mother in the woods. Police soon found him about 50 yards into the woods, caught in vines and sticker bushes.
Casey’s grandmother set up a GoFundMe page “at the public’s request” this weekend. The fundraiser is called “Casey and the Bear.”
The fundraiser’s description reads:
“Casey is the most amazing 3 year I have ever met. This little one was lost in the woods for days in the freezing temperatures, rain, dark nights and wind. He told us that his best friend the bear was with him to help keep him safe. Thanks to God’s mercy he came home to us alive and well. His parents searched diligently minute after minute of every hour/day without stopping.
Our supportive followers of this story has asked for a GoFundMe page be created for the family. This is reason for setting up the page. I am Casey’s paternal grandmother aka Memaw to him. I am Casey’s dad’s mom. So many of the public followers have asked for a GoFundMe for Casey and his family. I WANT TO MAKE THIS PERFECTLY CLEAR THIS IS NOT A REQUEST FROM FAMILY. THIS HORRIFIC EVENT WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR PERSONAL GAIN. We as the family dont EXPECT donations. So on the behalf of the PUBLIC’S request only here it is.”
Experts guess the bear that Casey spoke of was likely a black bear as it is the only species of bear found in North Carolina. As of 2012 there were about 17,000 in the state, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Black bears are not known to attack humans and they typically survive on a diet of berries, nuts, and small animals.