FBI Announces $10,000 Reward In Case Of Missing Autistic Boy

FBI Announces $10,000 Reward In Case Of Missing Autistic Boy

FBI Announces $10,000 Reward In Case Of Missing Autistic Boy

Maddox Scott Ritch, 6-year-old with Autism missing in Gastonia, North Carolina.

The search for Maddox, who is nonverbal due to his autism, is intensifying.

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

Hundreds of investigators spreading their search beyond the park, into the woods toward Interstate-85 and Long Creek.

"Maddox's parents have been notified of the discovery by law enforcement. The investigation is ongoing", FBI Charlotte announced Thursday. Maddox then started running after spotting a jogger on the trail around the lake, Ritch said, and continued out of sight.

Maddox was declared missing Saturday from the Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia, North Carolina, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "He enjoys the outdoors, so I just wanted him to have fun", said Ian Ritch.

Ritch said he felt guilty for letting his son get so far ahead of him, but said Maddox loves to run.

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.

Earlier Thursday, police had said they wanted to speak with a young man who was using the park's boat ramp near the time Maddox was last seen.

Ritch said he "was giving him just a little leeway, freedom" when he let him run up ahead, but he had a clear view of his son. Kaplan said it was "absolutely amazing" he was found. "We prayed that this was not going to be the result of this thing", one unidentified woman, a neighbor, said in a WBTV report. He said the area had been searched previously by drones, all-terrain vehicles and foot patrols. I tried to find him. He said he just wants his little boy back home.

"I would appreciate it, if you were at the park Saturday and saw Maddox, to please, urgently, please, call the tip line, please", she said.

They say all possibilities to explain his disappearance, including an abduction, are on the table. I wasnt so anxious about him when all this started on sat because i expected to find him right off over time i got more and more scared and anxious.

Ritch said his son was chasing after a jogger.

"Maddox is my whole world and my reason for living", Carrie Ritch said.

Ritch said he is diabetic and because he has neuropathy in his feet, he has trouble running. Gastonia SWAT teams have searched the lake and nearby waterways on kayaks.

On Thursday night, Ian Ritch, father of Maddox Ritch, made an emotional post on Facebook about his son. Because Maddox was autistic and non-verbal, the hunt to find him had to be handled differently.

What did the father say?

"No piece of information is too small", he said.

Anyone with information regarding Maddox can call the tipline at 704-869-1075.

"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.

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