A search for a missing child in Craven County, North Carolina, continues after three-year-old Casey Hathaway was reported missing on Tuesday.
Casey went missing after playing in the yard of his grandmother’s home along with two other children, according to the FBI Charlotte office, which is involved with the case.
After looking for Casey, the child’s family called the police and reported him missing. According to Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes, the county sheriff’s deputies responded within minutes.
“Our number one priority is to find Casey,” Hughes said in a press conference Wednesday.
Hundreds of professional searchers and volunteers are scanning the area, along with the FBI, state highway police, and the United States Marine Corp.
“We are treating this as a missing child investigation and search,” Hughes said Wednesday.
Harsh temperatures and difficult terrain are making it difficult to find Casey, Craven County Emergency Services Director Stanley Kite explained. Kite said it is a “complex path” ahead for searchers.
Professionally-trained searchers are working around the clock to locate Casey. Volunteer searchers were sent home Wednesday night due to safety concerns, according to the FBI.
“For a grown man it would be tough out here for this long,” Perry Turner, a volunteer involved in the search told NBC affiliate WRAL. “But, you know, the Lord works in mysterious ways and I hope he is working today."
"Every lead that we get we will diligently follow and go after," Hughes said. He encourages those with tips to called the manned tip line at 252-636-6703.