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Concern grows for missing boy who vanished in N.C. woods


By Sommer Brokaw, UPI

The parents of a 6-year-old North Carolina boy who vanished from a park are getting more concerned as the search is now nearly a week old.

Maddox Ritch disappeared last weekend at Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia while walking with his father and an acquaintance. Authorities have found no sign of the boy and say they are looking at all possibilities, including abduction.

Search crews on ATVs checked new areas near the park Wednesday and the Charlotte Fire Department brought in a pontoon boat with a special sonar to aid in the wide-ranging search.

The boy's father, Ian Ritch, said Wednesday the boy literally disappeared from sight because he ran off.

"We were walking on a track around the lake. He just decided to take off from me and I let him go a little bit because he likes running," he said. "He just got a little too far away from me before I could catch up to him."

Mother Carrie Ritch issued a tearful plea Tuesday for help finding the special needs boy. He has autism and cannot speak, his parents said, making the search especially difficult.

"Please, urgently please, call the tip line, please," she said, tearfully. "Continue praying for him because I just want my baby home. Maddox is my whole world, my reason for living."

Police said they've followed more than 150 leads, spoken to hundreds of people and searched thousands of acres -- and have found no sign of the boy.

The FBI has offered a $10,000 reward in the case and Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton said there are many more potential witnesses investigators want to speak with.

"Hundreds of people were there and we have only spoken to a few dozen," he said. "We need to talk to every single person who was there, you may know something that could help us." 


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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Concern grows for missing boy who vanished in N.C. woods
Concern grows for missing boy who vanished in N.C. woods
U.S. - U.S. Daily News
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