Casey Hathaway: Missing little boy likely wandered off, disappearance NOT suspicious, sheriff says

As search efforts to find a missing North Carolina boy Casey Hathaway reach its third day, authorities say they are not treating his disappearance as suspicious.

CBS 17 reports that Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes stated that while the FBI, state officials, soldiers from the U.S. Marines Corps, and countless volunteers are assisting in the search for the 3-year-old boy, they are treating his disappearance as a missing child who likely wandered off.

The sheriff stressed, however, that anyone with a tip should report anything “remotely suspicious.” Authorities are following up on all leads.

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As CrimeOnline previously reported, Casey didn’t return to his grandmother’s Ernul home off of 200 Toler Road on Tuesday afternoon, after playing outside with a group of children. Two of the children, who are a “little bit” older than Casey, according to the sheriff, returned to her home and said the little boy decided he wanted to keep playing outside. The grandmother searched for the boy, then contacted police around 45 minutes after he disappeared.

The grandmother told authorities that Casey may have went into “thick woods” behind her home. Hughes said that although Casey would stay with his grandmother from time to time, she was not considered his primary caregiver.

Casey is a white male who stands 3-feet-tall and weighs around 25 pounds. He has strawberry blonde hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing dark-colored pants and a blue coat.

“Our concern is, we are running out of light and it is cold outside. There are so many pockets of water and sinkholes, some of my deputies have come in up to here,” Hughes said on Tuesday. “Hopefully, it will be a positive, end on a positive note.”

Anyone with any information should contact the Craven County Sheriff’s Office at 252-636-6620 or the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation at 919-662-4500.

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[Feature Photo: Casey Hathaway/Handout]