Body is believed to be of missing North Carolina boy with autism

28 September, 2018, 00:20 | Author: Carlos George
  • ‘I want my baby back’: Search intensifies for 6-year-old who vanished during family walk

After almost a weeklong search, authorities believe they have found the body of missing 6-year-old Maddox Ritch near a road that runs within a mile of the park where he had reportedly run off.

With heavy hearts we announce a body believed to be 6-year-old Maddox Ritch was found at approximately 1 p.m. off of Marietta Street/Old Dallas Highway in Gastonia.

For the past several days, local, state and federal law enforcement personnel - with help from members of the community - have been searching hundreds of acres in and around the park, a popular spot for picnicking, hiking and watersports. The father said he is a diabetic and has trouble running because he has neuropathy in his feet.

His mother, Carrie Ritch, told reporters Tuesday that her son loves Bouncy Balls, the park and his teddy bear.

"In particular, some of the witnesses that we have spoken to saw a professional photographer out there that day and we'd like to talk with him", he said. Our focus is find Maddox as quickly as possible and to bring him home.

Kaplan said they still want to know where Maddox entered the water, but he would not say if there was trauma to his body, or if he was wearing the clothes he was last seen in.

"We were walking on a track around the lake and he made a decision to take off from me".

Ritch disappeared while he was at Rankin Lake Park with his father and another adult.


"I just want my baby home, please, whatever you can do."


The news release says the boy's parents have been notified about the body being found, and police scheduled a news conference for later in the afternoon.

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He was last seen in the city's Rankin Lake Park.

"Maddox is described as 4'0" tall, weighing 45 pounds with blonde hair.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Ian Ritch said that Maddox initially took off a little ways ahead, maybe "25 to 30 feet" before he went into a "major sprint".

A police spokeswoman has said Maddox took off running during a walk around the lake. Maddox then started running after spotting a jogger on the trail around the lake, Ritch said, and continued out of sight.

"It's torture", Maddox's father Ian Ritch said of his son's disappearance. "I didn't see that kid one time". Helton said investigators still want to speak to a jogger, a person who was pulling a kayak out of the lake and anyone in a group photographing three children in Dr. Seuss costumes. Park employee Rick Foxx is heard telling the dispatcher that Maddox's parents and officials "searched everywhere" for the child, FOX46 reported.

"We have followed more than 150 leads, conducted hundreds of interviews, gathered surveillance video from stores all over the area".

Helton said there were a lot of children in the park on the day Maddox disappeared, including other blond-haired boys wearing orange T-shirts.

"No piece of information is too small". He got out of my view, and that's whenever I never seen him again.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to his location.


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