GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - It’s been four days since anyone last saw 6-year-old Maddox Ritch. He went missing at Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia on Saturday, where he was spending the afternoon with his father.
Investigators say both of Maddox’s parents, Ian Ritch and Carrie Ritch, have been assisting in the investigation, but neither of them had not come forward publicly until Tuesday, when Maddox’s mother addressed the media during a press conference.
Carrie tearfully pleaded for help from the public, and begged people to call police if they had any information about her little boy. “If you were at the park Saturday and saw Maddox to please, urgently please, call the tip line please,” Carrie Ritch said through tears.
Officials have shared that Maddox has autism and doesn’t speak, but Carrie shared other details about her son Tuesday. She described him saying “his smile is so contagious, and his laughter is so precious.” She mentioned that he loves the park, bouncy balls, and his teddy bear.
“Maddox is my whole world and my reason for living," Ritch said. "His smile is so contagious and his laughter is so precious.”
Investigators have been playing recordings of Carrie’s voice on speakers throughout the park, calling to Maddox, in hopes it might lure Maddox out of any place he could be hiding.
Maddox’s father was not at the press conference because he was at the park assisting police and retracing his steps. Officials say they have received more than 150 leads, but they’re still looking for more information from anyone who might have seen Maddox at the park Saturday.
Anyone with information should call the tip line at 704-869-1075.