*Some of the images in the video are graphic
PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) — Late Sunday evening, the Hanson family received a phone call that their son, Caleb who went missing on Wednesday, was found off of Highway 280 in Phenix City.
Monday, family and friends gathered to celebrate Caleb’s return at Faith Temple Assembly of God in Phenix City, where just days before, they were frantically searching for the 21-year-old after he went missing after his morning routine.
Caleb and his family say he went into a cow pasture a short distance from his home. While he was in the pasture, he got turned around and ended up getting lost in 750 acres of woods that go deep into the pasture. While he was in the woods, Caleb says he stayed along a river in the woods for five days without food or water. He also says he thought he wouldn’t get out for months.
While he was in the woods, he sustained numerous bug bites, trenchfoot and a slight case of dehydration. His father, Tim, says Caleb tried to eat a turtle, sand, grass and ants to stop the hunger, but to no avail.
Caleb’s mother, Elizabeth, says not knowing Caleb’s location was the worst trauma the Hanson family has experienced, but she says her and the rest of the family experienced peace because they knew Caleb was not alone. “If Caleb is lost, God knows where he is and he’s with him,” Elizabeth Hanson said. “And if he’s lying unconscious, God knows that and he is with him. And if he is even gone, God is with him.”
Caleb’s aunt, Amira Jacobs says when she and her husband left church on Sunday, a parishioner told them they would get a call about Caleb being found that night. She says after all the family had been through, they weren’t sure about it. But a call came from Ayleen Estrada and her kids, Daileen Meighan and Janice Rodriguez.
They say they saw a flier about Caleb and posted it to Facebook. Shortly after, they saw a man who matched Caleb’s description walking down Highway 280. They eventually got him off the road and called Caleb’s father. “I gave him the phone. And he just stayed on the phone until his dad got here,” Daileen Meighan said. “It was just amazing how his dad parked, when he finally got here, got out of the car running and just hugged him and started crying. We were all crying in the car.”
Caleb and his family say they are blessed for all the help they’ve received. His parents say they will get a Project Lifesaver bracelet from the Russell County Sheriff’s Office for Caleb to wear if this ever happened again.