'That Was God at Work,' Says EMS Capt. Who Rescued Missing Age 3 Boy in Woods

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By the grace of God, 3-year-old Casey Hathaway has been reunited with his family after two long days of being missing, according to WTVD.

Casey was found tangled in some vegetation calling out for his mother to find him when Chocowinity, North Carolina, EMS Captain Shane Grier the rescued the boy on Thursday.

“We immediately at that time got him out because the conditions were really cold, got him out to warm him up,” Grier told WTVD on Friday. “He became more responsive the further we got him out.”

The police were able to find Casey after a tip about voices in the woods led them to the boy.

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Grier along with other rescuers freed Casey from the vegetation that was thick enough to hold the boy in place and got him to safety as quick as possible.

Casey spent the time all alone in the woods, which at some points were below-freezing temperatures. Though he did tell authorities that he’d spent the past two days hanging out with a bear, according to WNCT.

Casey’s grandmother reported him missing on Tuesday afternoon when he didn’t come in from playing with two other children.

He was found only a quarter of a mile away in Craven County, North Carolina, on Thursday evening.

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There was quite a scare as Grier says they were worried about Casey surviving the freezing temperatures and rugged terrain.

Grier was definitely relieved when he saw the boy telling WTVD, “He went through some very bad conditions, weather-wise.

“We had heavy rain. Everything in there was wet. Everything was wet. It’s just not a good situation for anyone. Even a trained professional would have difficulty in that environment.”

In a heartfelt moment, Casey’s aunt Breanna Hathaway told WTVD that “when we got the news last night that Casey was found, I grabbed his little sister and she said, ‘Aunt Bre, Jesus helped us find Casey.'”

Yes, Jesus definitely was at work in helping Casey those two days and making sure he was alright.

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Heather Garris, a family friend, said that Casey was a little banged up with some scrapes and his hands and feet had swollen, but he will definitely be OK.

“It’s a really overwhelming feeling that he’s back and he’s alive,” Garris told WTVD. “I know that’s really shocked the whole community.

“It’s an eye-opener, definitely for a miracle — believing in miracles because I’ve seen now they really do happen.”


The community of Craven County is thrilled that Casey was found safe, and held a celebration at the New Haven Church’s activity center on Friday night in honor of the boy’s return.

“The food was donated. Different businesses stopping in and saying let us help. We want to do something,” Jonathan Ipock, assistant pastor at the church, told WTVD.

The community showed their gratitude for Casey’s safe rescue by saying prayers and singing songs to commemorate the evening.

The Kitt Swamp Christian Church even posted a sign that read, “Welcome Home Casey.”

The Chocowinity Fire & EMS also posted a sign saying, “Casey Hathaway has been found alive. God bless all responders.”

Casey also had plenty to say about his return as Breanna Hathaway told WTVD, “We were looking at the news on social media and Casey saw his picture and he said, ‘Aunt Bre, that’s me!’ I said, ‘Casey, all these people were looking for you and trying to find you.’ And he goes ‘yay,'”

Because the community banded to together and prayed, little Casey was finally found, Grier told WTVD. Grier believes that there definitely was a higher power at play.

“Somebody looked after him,” Grier said. “That was God at work.”

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Dawn is a writer from Milwaukee who loves the art of crafting copy. She has experience in marketing and worked as editor-in-chief of a monthly B2B magazine where she honed her writing skills. No matter the topic or audience, she has a story to tell.
Dawn is a writer from Milwaukee who loves the art of crafting copy. She has previously worked in marketing and as as editor-in-chief of a monthly B2B magazine where she honed her writing skills. She enjoys the art of captivating readers and making them come back time and time again for more. No matter the topic or audience, she has a story to tell. Whether it’s an article, newsletter, news release or web content, she's done it.
BA, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
Waukesha, Wisconsin
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