The search is on for a 3-year-old boy who disappeared from the backyard of his grandmother's North Carolina home, police said.
Casey Lynn Hathaway vanished after playing with two other children, whom he is related to, in his grandmother’s backyard in Craven County on Tuesday, the Craven County Sheriff’s office said. When Casey didn’t come inside with the other children, his grandmother searched the home and outside, but the little boy was nowhere to be seen, officials said.
He had been missing for about 45 minutes when his grandmother called 911, and emergency officials responded to the house within minutes. Casey’s family has been extremely cooperative, authorities said.
“Our No. 1 priority is to find Casey," Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes told reporters Wednesday.
Authorities made their way through rugged terrain surrounding the house to look for the child on Tuesday but found nothing. Members of the U.S. Marines, the FBI and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, as well as many volunteers, joined the search as it intensified and expanded Wednesday.
As the temperatures dropped and safety concerns rose, volunteers were sent home, but professional searchers continued on through the night. Searchers met again at 8 a.m. Thursday to continue looking for Casey, but only professionals were used because of the dangerous weather conditions, officials said.
“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. "We've got well over 100 volunteers that have come here."
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.
Casey is 2 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 25 pounds. He has strawberry-blond hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a blue coat and dark pants. Anyone with information that could aid in locating Casey is asked to call the tip line at 252-636-6703, the Craven County Sheriff’s office at 252-633-0498, or the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation at 919-662-4500.
“No tip is insignificant," Hughes said.