Our community is heartbroken — Maddox Ritch

‘I want my baby back’: Search intensifies for 6-year-old who vanished during family walk

Authorities also partially drained the 80-acre lake to better see the shoreline. Gastonia SWAT teams searched the lake and nearby waterways on kayaks. Walking around the lake, looking at turtles, doing the things a young man would do.

Kaplan added there were still many unanswered questions, and the public's help was needed to gather more information.

After a desperate day-long search, a body believed to be that of a missing boy with autism has been found near a highway in North Carolina. "There is grieving down at the command post". About 180 people assisted with the search from multiple agencies on Thursday.

Identification of the remains will be done by the medical examiner's office, the city of Gastonia tweeted. Maddox's parents have been notified of the discovery.

Jason Kaplan, an Federal Bureau of Investigation supervisory special agent, said investigators want to determine the cause and manner of death as well as the boy's exact movements.

Kaplan declined to comment on the condition of the body.

"It was absolutely wonderful that he was found", Kaplan said.

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.

Both parents went before the media this week to plead for any information that would lead to the discovery of Maddox.

A statement from Gastonia police said the body was found around 1 p.m. Thursday at a location approximately 4 miles (6 kilometers) from the park where he was last seen. The boy's father said he ran off from him as he and a friend walked at Rankin Lake Park last weekend.

Maddox was 25 to 30 feet away before he broke into a sprint just as a jogger passed them.

"He usually runs but will stop to give me a chance to pick him up", Ian said.

He added that Maddox would often run ahead before slowing down to allow his father to catch up. "Now today i found out im not a dad anymore".

According to a 911 call released by police, a caller told authorities Maddox's parents had been searching for him for nearly an hour.

"First i want to say thank u from the bottom of my heart to everyone who took part in searching for my sweet lil buddy". Maddox was last seen wearing an orange T-shirt with the words "I am the man", along with black shorts and closed-toe sandals.

The father said he is diabetic and because of neuropathy in his feet had trouble running to catch up with his son. Like Helton, Welch said Thursday was a very sad day. Park personnel also joined in the search but didn't see Maddox, either. "Our investigators, our searchers, this is not the end that we hoped for".

How did Maddox's autism affect the search?

Just please hug ur children tighter and please dont make my mistake and let them get too far away from u.

Maddox was described as nonverbal, which complicates the search for him. Investigators found him in a location accessible by walking a path underneath USA 321, part of a future greenway that'll connect Rankin Lake Park to downtown Gastonia.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Ritch said: 'He likes running.

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