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Search for Maddox Ritch comes to tragic end

28 September 2018

"Our community's heartbroken. This is not the end that we hoped for", Helton said.

A neighbor told FOX 46 that his tip helped authorities locate the body believed to be that of 6-year-old Maddox Ritch.

The park's grounds include trails and paved walking paths, an 80-acre lake, about a dozen picnic shelters and an 18-hole disc golf course, according to city of Gastonia's website. "Those are very hard questions to answer, but they are questions that we will answer".

Gastonia Police have issued an updated missing child poster with a new tip line number in the search for a missing 6-year-old boy, Maddox Ritch, who disappeared yesterday at Rankin Lake Park in.

"There is no sense of accomplishment today", Welch said. "There is grieving down at our command post". He was partially submerged.

Search crews had checked the same area as recently as Tuesday.

Authorities tweeted the tragic news, saying the parents have been notified of the discovery.

Maddox has been described as having autism and is "nonverbal".

"We still want to hear from the people who were in the park that day", he said.

"We want to make sure that we're checking every possible spot to find this child", he said.

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The FBI Charlotte office said the boy's body was discovered off Marietta Street and Old Dallas Highway.

Police are using recordings of his parents' voices in an attempt to get Maddox's attention if he's lost in the woods. "The investigation is ongoing", it said earlier in the day.

The body of Maddox Ritch was found in Gastonia, North Carolina.

Maddox Scott Ritch has been missing since last Saturday, when his father Ian lost sight of him at a local park. Ritch, who said he has foot pain because of diabetes, said he ran after his son but couldn't find him.

"Usually when he takes off running he'll slow down and stop for me to catch up on him". I thought we would have found him and there was no reason to call police until that time period. "I feel guilt for letting him get so far ahead of me before I started running after him", Ritch said.

"It didn't look as though, they were that concerned", Foxx told CBS News, referring to Ritch and the friend.

Gastonia Police said an Amber Alert had not been issued in the case because it did not meet the criteria, which require a child's disappearance be tied to abduction.

According to a 911 call released by police, a caller told authorities Maddox's parents had been searching for him for nearly an hour. "Even if you think you don't think you can help, please call us and let us decide if your information can help us". Maddox's father Ian Ritch was the last person to see him while walking with him and his girlfriend. An SBI airplane flew overhead as federal and state officers tried to find anything that could lead them to Maddox.

The father said he is diabetic and because of neuropathy in his feet had trouble running to catch up with his son.

Hundreds of people would have been at Rankin Lake Park at that time, and while investigators said they have talked to some of them they would like to speak with all of them.

Search for Maddox Ritch comes to tragic end