In Gastonia, North Carolina, 6-year-old Maddox Ritch, vanished over the weekend after going to a local park with his father.
Little Maddox was last seen at his father, Ian Ritch. Maddox was running around the lake while his father chased after him, but eventually, he ran out of sight. Ian claims that he got excited after he saw a jogger run by. For hours, Maddox’s father searched for his son but was unsuccessful.
Maddox’s father had taken his son to Rankin Lake Park in North Carolina. The park is surrounded by thick forest and Maddox’s parents fear that he ran into the forest in curiosity and excitement.
Given Maddox’s autism, his parents and authorities are using unique processes to find Maddox. For instance, the FBI recorded common phrases and conversations of them talking to Maddox and are playing it over the forest. While this might sound like a bizarre tactic, it’s brilliant.
According to ABC News contributor and former FBI agent, Brad Garrett, this tactic is designed with special needs children in mind. Brad goes on to say that special needs children ”tend to be extremely close to their parents," Garrett told ABC News. "If you have a kid that can't communicate, but his parents talk to him every day ... I completely understand why they would do it."
With the FBI on the scene, investigators and little Maddox’s loved ones are asking for your help in discovering his whereabouts. Special needs children have an entirely different understanding of the world, and it’s our prayer that he would be found safe and without any harm done to him.
Now, the FBI is offering a $10,000 reward to whoever finds little Maddox. ABC News states that Maddox has “blond hair and blue eyes, weighs 45 pounds and is 4 feet tall, police said. He was wearing black shorts, closed-toe sandals and an orange T-shirt that reads "I am the Man" at the time he went missing.”
We are asking that you share this alert with everyone you know as well as keep little Maddox in your prayers; pray for his peace and his safety and that he will be home soon with family.