On January 22, 2019, 3-year-old Casey Hathaway vanished from outside his grandmother’s house in North Carolina.
FBI and U.S. Marines professional search teams joined up with volunteers to search for the boy, who weighs only 25 lbs., in the forest near grandma’s house.
Yahoo reports that after two days of heavy rain and freezing temperatures, a neighbor out walking her dog heard a loud cry coming from the bushes about 40 yards from the road. There, little Casey was found crying and tangled in thorn bushes.
He was rushed to the hospital in surprisingly good condition, apart from a few scrapes and bruises, where he later told his family that it was a bear who had kept him safe for the past two days, according to a GoFundMe page set up by the toddler’s grandmother at “the public’s request.”
The page says: “He told us that his best friend the bear was with him to help keep him safe. Thanks to God’s mercy he came home to us alive and well.”
While the family admits they’re not sure how accurate Casey’s version of events are, it is not the first time that wild animals have kept missing children safe:
- In 1888, the New York Times reported the disappearance of a 2-year-old girl who was found in a deep valley, where she claimed she had slept by a bear that kept her warm that night.
- In 1955, 2-year-old Ida Mae Curtis went missing in Kootenai National Forest in Montana. She was located after enduring two days of pouring rain, and explained that she had been cuddled and comforted by a bear during her time away.
- In December 2018, wild elks used their body heat to save a boy from hypothermia.
- The video below chronicles other cases: Gorillas saved boys who fell into the gorilla compound in zoos; a lioness saved a zookeeper; and an elephant saved an elephant nature park staffer from drowning:
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