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A news conference on the search for missing 3-year-old Casey Hathaway is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m.
Craven County EMA assistance director Ira Whitford is expected to give updates on the search at that time.
Sheriff Chip Hughes is also scheduled to hold a news conference later in the afternoon.
The search for Hathaway is ongoing off Toler Road in the Ernul area of Craven County, with more than 200 volunteers helping law enforcement agencies.
Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said a grandmother was watching a group of kids, two of which came inside while the three-year-old stayed outside. Casey was last seen shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday.
They looked for the 3-year-old for about 45 minutes before calling law enforcement.
The boy was last seen wearing a blue-colored coat and dark pants.
“It’s a stressful time for the family and everybody involved,” Hughes said. “But I can tell you we are certainly doing our due diligence, spending a lot of time with them and just sorting through all the different stories. And as calls come in, and we’ve had a number of them about things they’ve heard in the woods, none of them have panned out yet. But every lead we are following and going straight to it.”
Hughes said they are following all leads but do not believe the disappearance is suspicious.
He said they are treating it as a missing child investigation.
Investigators are using drones and helicopters to cover all angles, and the Craven County EMA said that they have enough volunteers for today.
Hughes said they are especially concerned due to the numerous sinkholes in the area and because the boy was not dressed for the cold.
“We are not leaving here until we bring some closure to this family,” said Hughes. “And, hopefully, it will be a positive, end on a positive note.”
The Craven County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation with assistance from State Highway Patrol, the New Bern Police Department, Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office K9s, NC Wildlife Resources, the FBI and the SBI.
Deputies are asking residents living in the area are to check storage sheds, vehicles, and their property for the child.
WNCT is on the scene and will have more information as it becomes available.