North Carolina

Searchers have found no evidence of missing 3-year-old days after disappearing, NC cops say

Missing NC 3-year-old never returned to grandmother’s house with other kids

Casey Hathaway was reported missing around 1:45 p.m. in Ernul, located close to New Bern, N.C. in Craven County. A search continues Wednesday for the boy who never returned to his grandmother’s house after playing outside Tuesday,
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Casey Hathaway was reported missing around 1:45 p.m. in Ernul, located close to New Bern, N.C. in Craven County. A search continues Wednesday for the boy who never returned to his grandmother’s house after playing outside Tuesday,

UPDATE

A Facebook post from the Craven County Sheriff’s Office after 7 p.m. Thursday provided more details about the search for missing 3-year-old Casey Hathaway.

In addition to multiple law enforcement agencies, first responders and volunteers, K9’s and scnet dogs are being used to try and find Casey

Swift water teams from area fire departments checked several ponds

A helicopter and drones are being used to search from overhead

Searchers are having to be cautious as the “terrain is treacherous,” and the area is “flooded and filled with sinkholes”

The Craven County Sheriff’s Office provided limited updates on the search for missing 3-year-old Casey Hathaway at a 4 p.m. news conference, streamed on Facebook by WRAL.

As of midday Thursday, the search has covered more than 200 acres

Searchers have found no evidence of Casey in the woods

The area being searched was described as “very rough terrain” according to Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes, and included ATV trails and was located near a fish farm

Hughes said Casey’s family is being “very cooperative right now”

The children who were outside with Casey before he disappeared told searchers where they were playing, which is where law enforcement began looking

The original story is below

An “emergency search” continues Thursday in eastern North Carolina for a missing 3-year-old boy who never returned to his grandmother’s house after playing outside Tuesday, the Craven County Sheriff’s Office said in a WCTI report.

Casey Hathaway was reported missing around 1:45 p.m. in Ernul, according to the Facebook page Never Forget Me. Ernul is located close to the North Carolina coast, not far from New Bern.

On Wednesday morning, the turn out of volunteers to help was so “huge” that authorities were turning people away, reported TV station WCTI.

Nearly 600 volunteers joined in the search Wednesday, working with multiple law enforcement agencies, reported WTVD. Those agencies kept trained searchers working over night, reported WITN.

The hundreds of volunteers are expected to rejoin the search at 8 a.m. Thursday, WTVD reported.

Craven County investigators told WITN that “abduction or kidnapping” have been considered as possible causes of the sudden disappearance.

But in a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said officials were treating the case as a “missing child search.”

Casey was playing with a group of kids, two of which returned to his grandmother’s home, thencbeat.com reported.

WSOC quoted authorities as saying the boy “wandered into thick woods behind the home.”

MissingBoy.JPG
This undated image provided by the Craven County Sheriff’s Office shows an online poster for missing Casey Lynn Hathaway. Hundreds of volunteers are helping authorities search for the 3-year-old North Carolina boy last seen playing near his grandmother’s home. (Craven County Sheriff’s Office via AP) AP

After an unsuccessful 45-minute search in the “rural, wooded area,” Casey’s family called 911, according to Never Forget Me.

Hughes said the searchers faced challenged of “extremely rugged terrain,” and cold temperatures, in the news conference shared on Facebook by WBTV.

Investigators say Casey was “not wearing winter clothing,” and is “unprotected from the elements as it gets colder,” per WCTI.

Casey is described as “2-foot-4, weighing 25 pounds with strawberry blonde hair and brown eyes,” according to the sheriff’s office Facebook page.

The FBI is part of the search, along with the “Craven County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. State Highway Patrol, New Bern Police Department, Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office K9’s, NC Wildlife Resources, and the SBI,” according to thencbeat.com.

The Craven County Sheriff’s Office posted a notice on Facebook early Wednesday, asking people “living in the area to check storage sheds, vehicles, and their property for the child.”

“We’re in an emergency search,” said the post. “If you have any information that will help find the missing child, please contact our office immediately. Thank you.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 252-636-6703.

AMBER, Blue and Silver Alerts are used by local law enforcement to notify the public that someone has gone missing. Here’s what you need to know about what each color code means.

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.


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