It comes with great sadness to report such heartbreaking news. Police believed to have found 6-year-old Maddox Ritch's body.
At this time, we are asking our readers to keep the family in their thoughts and prayers as they go through this devastating time. Many people have poured out their condolences to the family over social media sites. Will you join us in praying?
"With heavy hearts we announce a body believed to be 6-year-old Maddox Ritch was found at approximately 1 p.m. off of Marietta Street/Old Dallas Highway in Gastonia. Maddox’s parents have been notified of the discovery. The investigation is ongoing," wrote FBI Charlotte on Twitter.
Search crews swarmed the areas of where Maddox was said to have gone missing. On Thursday, September 27, at around 1 p.m., authorities discovered a small body off of Marietta Street and Old Dallas Highway in Gastonia, North Carolina.
Police believed it was Maddox. The body was taken to the medical examiner's office to confirm the identity.
At 4 p.m., authorities held a news conference where they found the body, which was partly submerged in Long Creek. Police would not go into further details on the condition of the body other than it was "camouflaged," according to "Fox46."
A group of 15 people, who were apart of the search crew, searched the area near Long Creek, which is about one mile away from Rankin Lake Park where Maddox was first reported missing. Then the rescuers stumbled upon a body.
Gastonia police said that they had searched this area numerous times before. However, they decided to retrace their steps because the believed that Maddox could have been wandering around during their search.
According to Ian Ritch, Maddox's father, he and a friend were visiting the 242-acre park on Saturday. Maddox was about 25 to 30 feet away from his father before he broke out into a sprint just as a runner passed them. Ritch said that his son is diabetic.
Will you please keep the Ritch family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this heartbreaking time?