DEPUTIES: Both 21-year-olds found alive in Croatan Nat'l. Forest

CARTERET COUNTY (WITN) - What started off as a suspicious vehicle call turned into a missing person's case in one local county.

The car was parked at the end of the road near dense woods, where cellphone and wallets were left behind and the occupants were nowhere to be found.

That is until Monday morning when a third search of the area led them to the two 21-year-olds.

The Carteret County Sheriff's Office issued a welfare concern bulletin for Casey Burroughs and Briana Wallace on Sunday after they disappeared on Saturday.

"The young man found his way out of the woods and walking along on the side of the road and one of our deputies here just happen to ride back down the street here and saw him," says Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck. "Then we went back into the woods in this area and the young lady was located a good distance back in the woods, but not too far, we could actually hear her call out to us."

Sheriff Buck says this search started with a suspicious vehicle call on Saturday.

Deputies say the car was initially found at end of Sandhills Drive. They were found 0.8 miles away.

Buck says the woods quickly becomes thick and troublesome to navigate through. "It looks fairly clear and you can walk through here a little ways, but then you can see where it gets a little thicker back there, and then the further you go back, it's very thick back and very wet and muddy as well, so that's difficult conditions to try to walk back there."

With machetes, determination and a little luck, the sheriff's office found the two in pretty good shape, despite being lost in the Croatan National Forest with overnight lows in the lower 40's. They also had no coats, food, water, or cellphones.

"So cold and wet, and it's pretty thick stuff back there, lots of briers and thorns and branches, and they're pretty scratched up," the sheriff says.

The two friends stayed together until Burroughs walked out to get help, according to Buck. They were taken to the hospital.

Deputies say they just went out for a walk and then got lost.


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Deputies say they have found both 21-year-olds who were lost in the Croatan National Forest.

Carteret County Sheriff's Office says Casey Burroughs and Briana Wallace were reported missing Sunday from the Newport area.

Their car was found abandoned at the end of Sand Hills Drive, and Chief Detective Jason Wank says that's where the search began.

Burroughs was found alive around 11:15 a.m. after he walked out of the woods.

Sheriff Asa Buck says after speaking with Burroughs, searchers went to the area where Wallace was, calling out to her and closing in on her voice.

Both had scratches and cuts and were taken to Carteret Health Care for exposure to the elements.

Buck says the two had walked into the woods and simply gotten lost.

Deputies used machetes to cut their way through the dense brush, while a drone was used to help with the search.


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The Carteret County Sheriff's Office is searching for two 21-year-olds who they say have been missing since Sunday.

The Sheriff's Office says it's concerned about the welfare of Casey Burroughs and Briana Wallace who were last seen in Newport.

Chief Detective Major Jason Wank says authorities found their car along Mill Creek Road, but do not have any other leads at this time.

Burroughs was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and grey sweat pants. He has blue eyes, brown hair, weighs about 150 pounds and stands 5 feet 9 inches tall.

Authorities say they do not know what Wallace was wearing but noted that she has several tattoos including a lions face on her left arm, "Every Queen Needs a King" on the left side of her neck, and a scorpion on her right leg. Wallace has hazel eyes, golden dreds, weighs about 110 pounds and stands 5 feet 7 inches tall.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Carteret County Sheriff's Office at 252-726-1911.