Search for Maddox Ritch comes to tragic end

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

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

With the help of friends who were walking with them, Ritch searched for his son but could not find him.

When children with autism go missing, rescuers get to know their likes and dislikes, and use familiar sounds to draw them out during the search.

Maddox was out with his father Ian and another adult in Rankin Lake Park when he went missing at about midday local time (16:00 GMT).

A pontoon boat and divers were brought in to search the park's lake, and dogs, ATVs and drones are being used to scour its 242-acre grounds and the surrounding area, police said.

"Continue praying for him because I just want my baby home, please, whatever you can do", she said.

Investigators say Maddox has autism and is nonverbal.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers and search and rescue teams from local, state and federal agencies are now involved in the search.

"Maddox is described as 4'0" tall, weighing 45 pounds with blonde hair.

The FBI previously said it had evidence Maddox was at the park Saturday, but did not specify what that evidence was.

FBI Supervisor Jason Kaplan told reporters during a news conference that Maddox's parents had recorded messages for crews to play while they searched for him.

"Usually when he takes off running he'll slow down and stop for me to catch up on him".

The boy's mother, Carrie Ritch, spoke publicly for the first time since her son's disappearance in a heartbreaking plea. I feel, I feel guilty because I could go the house lay down in a bed.

The FBI is urging anyone with information on Maddox's whereabouts - or with any information about the Saturday he disappeared - to call the Charlotte, North Carolina, FBI at 704-869-1075. "We have trained searchers walking through the entire park, checking every area, every trail, every corner". Ritch said his son was chasing after a jogger.

"Many of these children are more likely to respond to a favorite character, a unique interest or familiar voice", said Lori McIlwain, a co-founder and board member of the National Autism Association.

"As soon as I got to the point where I couldn't see him anymore, I started panicking", Ian Ritch said.

The boy's father, Ian Ritch, has said his son ran away from him in a park last Saturday in North Carolina and that he couldn't catch him. Park employee Rick Foxx is heard telling the dispatcher that Maddox's parents and officials "searched everywhere" for the child, FOX46 reported. "He started running, according to the parents, and when they started running after him, they lost sight of him, and no one has seen him ever since". "I just want to say". "I'm not eating, not sleeping". No piece of information is too small. "It may not be helpful to us now, and we're not expecting that Maddox would appear in those photos, but it may have other information that may be valuable". "He loves Bouncy Balls and he loves his teddy bear", she said. "The more damaging is to a mother and father who are desperate to get any information about their child", a representative for the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

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