3-Year-Old North Carolina Boy Vanishes from His Family's Yard: 'I Feel So Helpless,' Aunt Says
A desperate search is ongoing for a 3-year-old boy who has been missing for two days after he vanished from his grandmother’s yard, PEOPLE confirms.
Casey Hathaway was playing outside the house in Craven County, North Carolina, with two other children on Tuesday, but he “did not come back inside with them,” FBI spokesperson Shelley Lynch tells PEOPLE in a statement.
“A relative in the home searched for Casey and when they were unable to find him, called 911,” Lynch continued. WTVD reported that Hathaway and the other children had been playing in his grandmother’s backyard.
The grandmother and others looked for Hathaway for 45 minutes before reporting him missing, according to WTVD.
Hathaway has blonde hair and brown eyes, Lynch says. He is 28 inches tall and weighs 25 pounds. Hathaway was last seen near Toler Road in Ernul wearing a blue coat and dark pants.
Search teams and concerned community members have been combing the woods in the area since, hoping for any sign of the boy.
“We went through the woods – through the thicket and the briars,” volunteer Donna Harris told WTVD. “We did it for three-and-a-half, four hours and it was bad. It was really bad out there. If everybody could come and help look for him, it would help. As it got darker, it was scary out there. I just can’t imagine a 3-year-old being out there.”
The search for Hathaway continued on Thursday despite strong winds and heavy rain, Lynch said. Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said during a Wednesday news conference that the situation is being treated as a missing person’s case, though they have not ruled out the possibility of kidnapping.
Hughes added that the little boy wasn’t dressed properly for the weather and he is concerned about ditches and sinkholes in the area. He noted that divers are searching ponds in the area.
A Facebook page has been set up for the boy, and features missing posters, photos, and search updates.
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Breanna Hathaway, who identified herself in a Facebook post as Hathaway’s aunt, has shared updates about the search on the social media site.
“My heart is so broken. I feel so helpless,” she wrote in one post alongside a video of Hathaway saying “Love you!”
In another post, she added: “We are not going to stop until he is home and we hope you don’t either.”