Endangered alert issued for missing 6-year-old boy with autism

A young boy named Maddox Scott Ritch has been reported missing and police are currently trying to locate him with the help of an FBI team.

Maddox went missing at Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia, North Carolina, on Saturday, September 22, 2018, after taking off running ahead of his parents.

The Gastonia Police Department has taken to their Facebook account to share some details and photos of Maddox to allow the public to identify him.

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Maddox, who is 6 years old and suffers from autism, has been described as nonverbal and disappeared from his father's sight at the park around 1:30 p.m.

Since Maddox's disappearance, between 100 and 125 people have joined the search in the 1,400 acres in and around Rankin Lake Park. But given the boy's special needs, the police has decided to call for reinforcements.


The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's helicopter has been deployed to help look for Maddox and the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team turned the case into a nationwide search.

Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton said that all efforts are being made to make sure that Maddox is brought back safe and sound but, so far, the authorities have no leads related to his whereabouts.


At the time he went missing, Maddox was wearing an orange shirt with the phrase 'I'm the man' printed on it and black shorts. He has blonde hair, blue eyes, stands at 4 feet tall and weighs around 45 pounds. 

Those who might have some information regarding Maddox or those who believe to have spotted him, are encouraged to contact police and provide their statement.


Unfortunately, Maddox disappearance isn't the only one that the FBI has been working on; the agency helped in the search for 10-year-old Ashley Jonshon-Barr, who went missing from Rainbow Park, Kotzebue, Alaska on September 6.

Unfortunately, eight days after being missing, Ashley's body was found and the funeral was held on Saturday, September 22, where the community paid tribute to the sweet little girl.