GASTONIA POLICE DEPARTMENT -- Police are reaching out to the public for help finding a missing 6-year-old boy who has been missing since Saturday. 


September 23, 2018 

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The search continues for 6-year-old Maddox Ritch. About 100-125 people searched more than 1,400 acres in an around the Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia today. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department sent its helicopter this evening. The helicopter arrived while it was still light to do an aerial search and began to use infrared technology once it got dark out.

Overnight, search and rescue crews will patrol areas of the park on foot and on ATVs to continue the search for Maddox. All activities at the park are canceled and it will remain closed to the public until further notice. A special tip line has been established, call 704-869-1075 if you have information to help find Maddox.

At a press conference this afternoon, Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton explained how the public can help, "if you were at Rankin Lake Park on Saturday and saw Maddox or took video or photos of their outing at the park, call us. We know a lot of people were in the park and we have spoken to many of them, but we have not spoken to everyone. No piece of information is too small. Something you may think is insignificant could be helpful to our case.”

Gastonia Police are still on the scene at Rankin Lake investigating the disappearance of a 6-year-old boy. The little boy, Maddox Ritch, is blonde, blue eyes, 4 ft tall, 45 lbs. He is autistic and non-verbal. He was last seen wearing an orange t-shirt with the words "I am the man" and black shorts. Anyone who was at Rankin Lake Park after noon today & might have seen the little boy, please call 704-866-3300.