‘He’s a tough little fella,’ says relative who was caring for Casey Hathaway when he disappeared

January 26, 2019
Casey Hathway in the hospital after being found following a two-day search for the boy.

Julie Toler calls the outcome of the two-day search to find her great-great grandson ,“a miracle from God.”

Toler says she lost sight of Casey Hathaway, 3, on Tuesday while he played outside her home in Craven County.

“They play out there all the time. They go back and fourth from my house to my daughter’s house,” Toler said. “I’m glad he’s fine because it would have been terrible for everybody if something happened to him.”

Authorities from the FBI, U.S. Marines, professional search teams and volunteers joined the search for the young boy over a two-day span.

The boy endured freezing temperatures on Tuesday and wet downpours on Wednesday.

“I felt guilty,” Toler said. “I didn’t want to get warm because I knew he was cold. I didn’t want to eat because I knew he was hungry. It was just terrible.”

Casey was eventually found on Thursday night after a neighbor walking her dog heard him crying out for his mom in the woods.

Officials say the missing boy was discovered about 40 yards into the woods and tangled in thorn bushes.

“I know that it was a miracle from God,” Toler said. “That’s the only thing that could have saved the boy out there in that mess.”

Toler said Casey remains hospitalized at CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, but he is now playing cell phone games and watching cartoons.

Authorities have said the boy is being treated for cuts and scrapes but he is listed in good condition, according to a nursing supervisor.

“I’m just hoping there are no long term effects on him,” said Toler. “He’s a tough little fella.”

Toler says Hathaway told family members a bear kept him safe for two days in the woods. They are not sure if the story is accurate but are just relieved he is safe.

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