Facing heavy rains, gusty winds and low visibility, rescuers and law enforcement combed the difficult Craven County, North Carolina, terrain – focusing on up to 1,000 acres of heavily wooded areas.
On day three, and the tip led the search team to a spot where they were able to hear the 3-year-old's voice calling for his mother, Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes told reporters at a press conference Thursday night.
They followed his call 40 to 50 yards into the woods, through the water, to find Casey tangled in vines and thorns, Hughes said.
He was cold, authorities said, but alive and responsive.
"He was walking in the woods back there and we can not find him," his great-grandmother told the 911 dispatcher. "The other came through the house but left him there and he walked somewhere and we could not find him."
Search and rescue teams from across North Carolina immediately came together to brave the treacherous terrain and cold temperatures hoping to find Casey. The search went through three days.
The FBI, NCIS, dozens of volunteers and the US Marine Corps also joined the effort to find the boy, Hughes said.
Authorities employed helicopters, drones and K-9 units, Craven County Emergency Management Director Stanley Kite said.
The boy authorities described as 25 pounds and 2 feet 4 inches tall were stuck out in conditions so bad that volunteers were turned away from the search
Hughes said his team was concerned about the "extreme cold" as temperatures dipped near freezing, but against all odds, they found him
"It was folks giving us tips and leads," Hughes said. "
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Casey is receiving medical treatment for cuts and scrapes at Carolina East Medical Center, said Shelley Lynch, spokeswoman for the FBI Charlotte field office.
Buty, police say he is in good spirits and has been reunited with his family
What was really special was how Casey brightened up when his little sister was brought in to see him, Hughes said. Sheriff Hughes said there was no sign of abduction in this case, and he thanks departments and volunteers who came together to find Casey.
"Thank you all for coming out, all the prayers," Casey's father said Thursday. "It's a lot."
"He's good, he's up and talking," Casey's mother told reporters at a press conference. "