Body found in hunt for six-year-old boy — Maddox Ritch missing

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Identification of the remains will be done by the medical examiner's office, but authorities indicated they believe they are of Maddox.

But on Saturday, the boy, who has autism and is nonverbal, ran too far ahead, and Ian Ritch lost sight of him.

The news release says the boy's parents have been notified about the body being found, and police scheduled a news conference for later in the afternoon.

On Wednesday, the father of Maddox, Ian Ritch, thanked rescue workers and begged for his son's safe return.

The FBI says Ian Ritch, Maddox's father, is cooperating and retraced the path they took on Saturday.

The father said he is diabetic and because of neuropathy in his feet had trouble running to catch up with his son.

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"Maddox is my whole world and my reason for living", Carrie Ritch said, WRAL reported. "I couldn't catch up with him". "He got out of my view, and that is whenever I never seen him again [sic]".

The boy has diabetes and neuropathy in his feet that can make it hard for him to run, his father said. "As soon as I got to the point where I couldn't see him anymore, I started panicking".

Park personnel also joined in the search but also didn't see Maddox.

According to a 911 call released by police, a caller told authorities Maddox's parents had been searching for him for nearly an hour.

A news conference about the ongoing search for Maddox will be held at 4 p.m. today, NBC Charlotte will hold that news conference live.

He said Maddox took off running in the opposite direction of his father and his friend Saturday at Rankin Lake Park.

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Gastonia Fire Chief Phil Welch said the body was found in a creek, slightly more than a mile (1.6 kilometers) east of Rankin Lake Park, by a searcher who was walking down the middle of the creek as his partners stood on the bank.

"I'm not eating. I'm not sleeping", Ritch said. "I'm just anxious about getting my little boy back". I thought after the first night, he would be fine. "I just want to say". Please all i want is some time to try to pull myself back together the best i can. I would give anything to go back and save him. I din't know where he went.

Mr Ritch said that not being able to find his son had 'been torture'. Hoping he would respond to his parents' voices, authorities pumped prerecorded messages into Rankin Lake Park.

According to Ritch, Maddox was about 25 feet to 30 feet (7 meters to 9 meters) away before he broke into a sprint just as a jogger passed them. "You should not take away anything from that, except understand that law enforcement, we will not take anything for granted", he said.

Meanwhile, Ritch knows he's a potential target for investigators in his son's disappearance. Maddox was my only child and he will be the only one i will ever have.

Ritch told CBS News he took two polygraph tests, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation would not comment on the results.

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