On Saturday, September 22nd, 6-year-old boy with Autism, Maddox Ritch vanished in broad daylight. Maddox was at a local park in Gastonia, North Carolina with his father and his father’s girlfriend.
6-year-old Maddox was last seen by his father when he was running around the park. It was normal for little Maddox to get bursts of energy spontaneously, so when he spotted a runner that he wanted to chase, he allegedly took off.
Maddox’s father, Ian Ritch, noticed that Maddox was beginning to run out of his sight so he began chasing after him. But before he knows it, Maddox was out of his sight.
After unsuccessfully searching for Maddox by themselves, Ian and his girlfriend alert a park employee who made a call to first responders. By Monday, September 24th, his disappearance made national headlines as an Amber Alert.
Ian was interviewed about his son’s disappearance and his tone and demeanor struck a chord with Americans. Many believed that Ian appeared uninterested in his son’s disappearance and many even wondered if he had anything to do with it…
One park employee even shared that Ian and his girlfriend were never seen entering the park. He also revealed that Ian did not seem concerned in the slightest when being interviewed. He shared, “It didn't look as though, they were that concerned. I’ve worked there for almost three years and we see everybody come in and out of that park pretty much. I didn't see that kid one time.”
On Thursday, September 27th, little Maddox’s body was believed to be found approximately one mile from the park that he went missing in. ABC News reports that his body was discovered off the Marietta Street/Old Dallas Highway in Gastonia, North Carolina.
Ian took to Facebook where he shared his heartbreak in a more “believable” format. In a lengthy post, he wrote:
First, I want to say thank u from the bottom of my heart to everyone who took part in searching for my sweet lil buddy. I truly appreciate everything everyone did to find him. And to everyone in the community that was hoping and praying and just took one second of their time to think about Maddox I thank y’all too. I loved that lil boy he was my best lil buddy. Maddox was my only child and he will be the only one I will ever have. I wasn’t so worried 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 worried. Once Sunday morning came that's when it started me thinking i had something to worry about. Now today I found out I’m not a dad anymore. I had big plans with my son. I wanted us to go fishing play ball go camping. I wanted to be his hero. I wanted him to say I was more than Superman or Batman to him. I wanted people to ask him who his hero is and he says, my daddy. Now I’m no hero I couldn’t save him or protect him at all. I would give anything to go back and save him. While a lot of people don’t believe anything I have said in the past believes this. From this moment on for the rest of my life, I will live with the guilt of not being there to save my son. The most important person in my life. So when everyone else gets to go back to their normal lives remember that I will never be the same man again. I will now and forever be a broken man until I take my last breath. I've never been a very spiritual man before but. Ow, I want to be just so when I die my lil boy will be the first person I see when I get into heaven. I can't wait to see his lil smiling face again. Please all I want is some time to try to pull myself back together the best I can. So this will be the last response I will give to anyone. Just please hug ur children tighter and please don’t make my mistake and let them get too far away from u. Do everything u can with ur children because I won't get the chance to do anything with mine. Now to Maddox I just want to say I love u lil buddy. Please be waiting for me when my time comes because i\I promise I’m gonna do everything I can to be with u rooster!!!!!
What do you think about Ian’s statement? Let us know in the comments below.