26 January, 2019
Casey had been playing outside the home with two children he is related to and he did not come back inside with them.
Breanna Hathaway, who identified herself as Casey's aunt, said the boy told the family he was with a bear for two days.
Gone for more than 24 hours as temperatures drop to near freezing, a missing 3-year-old is the "number one priority" of police in North Carolina, officials said Wednesday.
Shelley Lynch, a spokesperson for the FBI Charlotte field office, stated: "A relative in the home searched for Casey and when they were unable to find him, called 911", People reported.
"We are doing everything we can to find this child, utilizing all resources at our disposal and once again, we want these folks in the Cayton Community and Ernul Community to certainly keep an ear out", Hughes said, according to WCTI-TV.
Dozens of volunteers gathered early Wednesday to help search for the boy.
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Anyone with information can call the sheriff's office at 252-633-0498 or the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation at 919-662-4500.
Craven County Sheriff's Deputies responded within minutes and the search has only grown since then. Some volunteers had to be turned away because of the hard conditions search teams are facing.
Hughes says searchers covered 220 acres (89 hectares).
Authorities have employed helicopters, drones and K-9 units, Craven County Emergency Management Director Stanley Kite said.
News outlets report heavy rains and strong winds are expected Thursday as officials search for Casey Hathaway, who has been missing since Tuesday.
'Additional search assets will return in the morning.
"I don't think the child was adequately clothed to be out in this", Sheriff Chris Hughes told WBTV.
Law enforcement urged members of the community to check their property for the little boy, as well as any storage sheds, vehicles and other structures in the area.