Maddox Ritch missing: Body found in hunt for six-year-old boy

Maddox Ritch missing: Body found in hunt for six-year-old boy

Search crews have found a body they believe to be that of a 6-year-old boy who ran off from his father at a park.

On Wednesday, the autistic boy's father explained to the media how the 4 foot tall, 45-pound Maddox went missing along an oval pathway around Gastonia's Rankin Lake Park. The area, thick with underbrush, had been searched numerous times. They would not go into details on the condition of the body other than that it was "camouflaged".

Maddox has autism and limited verbal skills and had been allegedly walking with his father Ian Ritch and another adult at the park at around 1.30pm on Saturday when his father says he started running.

Investigators said Maddox's father told them he lost track of his son at about 1:30 p.m.at Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia, North Carolina, about 20 miles away from Charlotte. They have also blasted recordings of his parents' voices, hoping to draw Maddox out.

FBI Charlotte tweeted that the investigation was ongoing, while a news conference is due to be held later on Thursday afternoon.

The FBI plans to bring new equipment, different from what's been previously used, to the lake search, according to WBTV.

"The search was an evidence grid search, which focuses on not just finding a person the size of a 6-year-old but any minute piece of evidence that may be left behind", Kaplan said.

Maddox Scott Ritch has been missing since last Saturday, when his father Ian lost sight of him at a local park. I thought we would have found him and there was no reason to call police until that time period.

"I just want to say: I want my baby back in my arms", Ritch said about her young son, crying.

"If you were at Rankin Lake Park on Saturday and saw Maddox or took video or photos of their outing at the park, call us", Helton said Sunday.

Vikings DE Griffen held at mental health facility after disturbing Saturday
Griffen showed up shirtless outside the house of teammate Trae Waynes , who lives on the same street. On Tuesday, head coach Mike Zimmer said the team is going to do everything they can to help Griffen.

Police released the 911 call Wednesday that was made almost an hour after Maddox went missing.

"We searched everywhere", the man said on the phone call.

He has blonde hair and blue eyes.

Officials revealed the outfit Maddox was last seen wearing, an orange shirt that read "I'm the Man" and sandal-like shoes with closed toes.

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.

FBI Supervisor Jason Kaplan said it is too early in the investigation whether foul play factored into Ritch's disappearance.

Maddox's parents had encouraged anyone who may have information on the case to call the special tip line, 704-869-1075.

On Tuesday, Maddox Ritch's mother Carrie gave an emotional plea for help.

She said that he loved the park, bouncy balls and his teddy bear. I was giving him just a little leeway, freedom. At that time, Ritch said, he was still optimistic.

"He looked back at me and laughed like he normally does ... he slowed down a little then he paced himself back up", he said. I'm just anxious about getting my little boy back, ' he said.

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