FBI Charlotte
Public Affairs Specialist Shelley Lynch
September 23, 2018

FBI Joins Search for Boy Missing from Gastonia Park

9/27/18 UPDATE: At approximately 1:00 p.m. on September 27, 2018, search crews discovered a body believed to be Maddox Ritch off of Marietta Street/Old Dallas Highway in the Long Creek in Gastonia.

Maddox’s parents have been notified of the discovery by law enforcement. Identification of the body will be done by the medical examiner’s office. The investigation is ongoing to determine how he died.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Gastonia Police Department to find 6-year-old Maddox Scott Ritch. He was reported missing on September 22, 2018, from the Rankin Lake Park located in Gastonia, North Carolina. Maddox is 4'0" tall, and weighs 45 pounds. He has blue eyes and blond hair. He was last seen wearing an orange T-shirt with the words “I am the man” on the front and black shorts. Maddox is autistic and does not talk.

More than two dozen local, state, and federal agencies are assisting the Gastonia Police Department with investigative and search and rescue resources. Those resources include the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) team. The CARD team consists of a group of highly trained and experienced subject-matter experts in missing children investigations. They deploy all over the country when a child is reported missing.

A Missing Poster of Maddox has been added to the FBI’s website and social media accounts. A link to the poster can be found here: https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/kidnap/maddox-scott-ritch

Anyone with information is asked to call a special tip line to the Gastonia Police Department; the number is 704-869-1075.