North Carolina 3-year-old Casey Hathaway has made it home safely after vanishing from his grandmother’s backyard, remaining lost for two days in the forest.
Surprisingly, the three-year-old has revealed that he spent two days in the woods with a friendly bear who apparently watched over him.
The boy had been playing with two other children in his grandmother’s back yard but was found to be missing when the other children went inside. Casey was nowhere to be found.
Hundreds of people joined the search for the three-year-old including more than six hundred volunteers, as well as members of the FBI, NCIS as well as Marine Cops.
Two days later, after the detailed search and rescue operation, the toddler was found calling for his mother deep within the woods.
Police have revealed that Casey was soaking wet, cold, and was angled in thorn bushes.
To get to the child and bring him to safety, rescuers had to go through waist-deep water.
Casey’s aunt, Breanna Hathaway revealed in a Facebook post that her nephew was “healthy, smiling and talking” following his return home.
“He said he hung out with a bear for two days,” she wrote in the post. “God sent him a friend to keep him safe. God is a good God. Miracles do happen.”
As reported by the Boston Herald, there is even a GoFundMe page that has been set up at “the public’s request” titled “Casey and the Bear.”
The description of the GoFundMe reads:
“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 keep him safe. Thanks to God’s mercy he came home to us alive and well.”
The same story was told by the toddler to the local police when he was found.
It still remains a mystery as to how Casey remained mostly healthy and survived in the woods alone, with his bear.
“He didn’t say how he was able to survive and all that,” Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes told WCTI.
“He did say he had a friend in the woods that was a bear that was with him.”
Authorities are still trying to figure out what exactly happened and how the three-year-old ended up in the woods.
As for the bear who hung out with him, officials are still unsure whether the bear was real, or was just an imaginary friend.
According to Hughes, bears are common in the area, but he believes the comment was more ‘cute’ than factual.