The entire house was in chaos when the three-year-old boy named Casey disappeared from his yard.
He was out playing with his friends. It was only a little while, but when his great-grandmother went on to look for him, he was nowhere to be found.
Then she called the police.
Hours turned into days and still, there was no sign of him. North Carolina’s Craven County had police dogs and volunteers all trying to sniff out the mystery behind his disappearance in this freezing temperature.
Even though Casey’s family never lost hope, Craven County Sheriff, Chip Hughes, was afraid for the boy’s life as the degrees continued to fall.
And then, a miracle happened.
A man from the search team heard the sound of a crying child in the woods. As he followed the noise deeper and deeper into the forest, he found the missing boy huddled among briars.
“His core temperature was very low, his fingers and all had a bit of frostbite,” Sheriff Hughes said.
He was immediately taken to the hospital before his overall condition got better again.
As he regained his strength and memory of what happened, to say what he said would be nothing short of astonishing.
He said that a bear took care of him when he was lost.
His aunt posted the story on Facebook, “He said he hung out with a bear for two days … God sent him a friend to keep him safe. God is a good God. Miracles do happen.”
It’s no surprise that Casey’s story has gone viral, even managing to make international headlines. The story had many people questioning its validity, some even going as far as to call it a fantasy.
This is when Chris Norcott, a wildlife photographer, stepped in with his opinion. As someone who has spent a considerable amount of time with black bears in North Carolina, he does believe that it could be true.
“I believe him,” Norcott said. “Over the years, I’ve seen many behaviours which demonstrated their concern and nurturing side … towards their own offspring [and] other animals.”
“This could certainly be possible,” Norcott said.
“I don’t know if that meant he saw a bear,” Sheriff Hughes said. “I don’t know if that meant a bear embraced him or what it meant.”
However, whether the story is true or not, what matters is that Casey has returned home completely safe and sound. If the bear, whether real or no, kept Casey from feeling lonely and lost, it doesn’t really matter, does it?
Many seem to agree for people have started sending the boy teddy bears to let him know they are with him.
“I thought it was a very cute story,” Sheriff Hughes said, “and if that’s what helped that child survive through this, you know what, I’m to going to embrace that story.”
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