3-year-old boy who went missing in woods for days says bear kept him safe
A North Carolina boy who disappeared last week amid freezing temperatures said that a bear kept him safe while he was lost in the woods.
Casey Hathaway, 3, was playing with two other children in his grandmother's backyard in the town of Ernul when he wandered away from the group last Tuesday.
The child was found alive two days later about 40-50 yards into the woods tangled in some thorny bushes after a woman walking her dog heard Casey crying and alerted police, Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes told reporters.
The discovery came amid a massive search effort that covered miles of wooded terrain, both on the ground and in the air.
Sheriff Hughes said Casey was lethargic but in surprisingly good condition when he was located by authorities, and that when asked how he managed to stay alive in the forest alone for so long, the boy replied that he "had a friend in the woods that was a bear that was with him."
On Friday, Casey's aunt Breanna Hathaway took to Facebook to share an update on her young nephew's condition, where she echoed the story about the boy's alleged guardian, BuzzFeed News reports.
"He said he hung out with a bear for two days," Hathaway wrote in a now-deleted post. "God sent him a friend to keep him safe. God is good God. Miracles do happen."
Hathaway also wrote that Casey is a fan of an animated TV show called Masha and the Bear, in which a young girl lives in the forest and has a guardian bear who watches over her, adding that her family has been inundated with teddy bears since her nephew was found.
"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," Hathaway wrote.