Authorities believe they have found body of missing NC Six-Year-Old Maddox Ritch

North Carolina– A body believed to be that of missing 6 year old Maddox Ritch was found on Thursday, days after the 6-year-old vanished in broad daylight in a North Carolina park Saturday, city officials and the FBI said.

Search crews have found a body believed to be Maddox Ritch, the six-year-old boy who was last seen at Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia on Saturday.

The body was discovered near Marietta Street and Old Dallas Highway in Gastonia.

Maddox Ritch’s parents have been notified and identification of the body will be done by the medical examiner’s office, according to officials.



GASTONIA, N.C. – The search will continue all night Sunday into Monday morning for a little boy missing in Gastonia.

No one has seen six-year-old Maddox Ritch since he disappeared in Rankin Lake Park on Saturday.

More than two dozen agencies, including the FBI, are now involved in the search.

“Checking every area, every trail, every corner,” explains Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton.

Crews are searching 1,400 acres in and around the park.

“They have been through every possible lead on the ground in this area,” explains Rachel Bagley, with the city of Gastonia.

The FBI is now involved in the search.

Investigators say Ritch has autism and is non-verbal.

He was walking with his father and another adult near the lake Saturday when he ran ahead of them.

That’s the last time he was seen.

“We’re going to explore all possibilities, including abduction, but we’re also going to make sure that we search every inch of the land around here to make sure that he’s not simply lost,” explains FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jason Kaplan.

Investigators say they’re still hopeful Maddox will be found but they need information.

They want anyone who may have visited the park on Saturday to call them, especially anyone who took personal pictures or videos.

“No piece of information is too small. Something you may think is insignificant could be helpful in our case,” Helton says.

Police say Maddox is four feet tall, 45 pounds. He has blue eyes and blonde hair.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is also now involved in the search.

“Every second counts, when a child is missing. Our focus is to find Maddox as quickly as possible and to bring him home,” Helton says.

Police say while they appreciate the public’s support, they don’t need volunteer search crews right now.

Categories: Local News, News, State