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Maddox Ritch missing from a park in Gastonia FOUND

Maddox Ritch

Maddox Ritch Missing Gastonia, North Carolina

Updates on this story are at the top.  Please go to bottom to read the first entry on this story.

Nov. 29, 2018

An autopsy by the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office, states the cause of death as “probable drowning,” but,  because of the body’s decomposition and likely predation by animals, “the exam itself cannot be conclusive. The findings are not inconsistent with drowning.”

Ian Ritch posted on his Facebook page tonight.

“First i want to say thank u from the bottom of my heart to everyone who took part in searching for my sweet lil buddy. I truly appreciate everything everyone did to find him. And to everyone in the community that were hoping and praying and just took one second of their time to think about Maddox i thank yall too. I loved that lil boy he was my best lil buddy. Maddox was my only child and he will be the only one i will ever have. I wasnt so worried about him when all this started on sat because i expected to find him right off over time i got more and more scared and worried. Once sunday morning came thats when it startes me thinking i had something to worry about. Now today i found out im not a dad anymore. I had big plans with my son. I wanted us to go fishing play ball go camping. I wanted to be his heroe. I wanted him to say i was more than superman or batman to him. Iwanted people to ask him who his heroe is and him say my daddy. Now im no heroe i couldnt save him or protect him at all. I would give anything to go back and save him. While a lot of people dont believe anything i have said in the past believe this. From this moment on for the rest of my life i will live with the guilt of not being there to save my son. The most important person in my life. So when everyone else gets to go back to their normal lives remember that i will never be the same man again. I will now and forever be a broken man until i take my last breath. Ive never been a very spritual man before but. Ow i want to be just so when i die my lil boy will be the first person i see when i get into heaven. I cant waitto see his lil smiling face again. Please all i want is some time to try to pull myself back together the best i can. So this will be my last response i will give to anyone. Just please hug ur children tighter and please dont make my mistake and let them get too far away from u. Do everything u can with ur children because i wont get the chance to do anything with mine. Now to Maddox i just want to say i love u lil buddy. Please be waiting for me when my time comes because i promise im gonna do everything i can to be with u rooster!!!!!”

UPDATE on Body Found

More information has come out:  FBI agent Jason Kaplan said this afternoon the body was   “camouflaged. It was extremely difficult to see him even when we were standing right next to him. He was in the creek, in water. Partially underwater.” The remains were found in about 3-feet of water in Long Creek.  The body could not have been swept into the creek from the lake due to a screen in the discharge area.  Early theories are that Maddox walked under fencing around the park to get to the creek.   An autopsy will be performed to find the case of death.



Authorities say the body of Maddox Ritch was found at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday off Marietta Street/Old Dallas Highway in Gastonia.

Studying the map if you look in along the creek above the “8 min” sign (below).  See blue line below for the creek.  I am wondering if Maddox didn’t walk from the area of Long Creek and under highway 321 to get to the other side and then followed Long Creek towards Old Dallas Road,

maddox ritch
maddox ritch

It’s been five days since Maddox went missing and just now after not much coming from the police or media, more information is coming out that puts a different spin on the disappearance of Maddox Ritch.  A spin that most of you were already suspecting as you sent me IM’s throughout the week.

The person that called 911 told CBS news that the father and his girlfriend didn’t seem too concerned about that fact that Maddox was missing.   Rick Foxx, who works at Rankin Lake Park was the one that made the 911 call to dispatch.  He bluntly said, he doesn’t believe Maddox was ever there.

“It didn’t look as though, they were that concerned,” Foxx said. “I’ve worked there almost three years and we see everybody come in and out of that park pretty much. I didn’t see that kid one time.”

Foxx also told WSOC news that Maddox’s mother showed up at the park and was hysterical and had to be calmed down by the authorities.

Here is the audio of the 911 call and after that is the police conference with Maddox’s father, Ian Ritch.  Please note how the police chief studies Ian’s face as he talks.

Also, Maddox’s father, Ian Ritch stated that he has taken a polygraph but the police have not told him the results.  Later CBS reports that Ian stated he did pass the polygraph test-twice, but the FBI has not made a statement about that.

Ian also said during the news conference that he was a diabetic and had “neuropathy” on his feet and that is why he could now run fast after Maddox. David Begnaud of CBS stated that Ian did not tell them that when they interviewed him earlier.

Ian also told WBTV that he knows he is the number one suspect in the disappearance of Maddox. It was interesting in that interview to hear him state that there were people blocking the path so he was not able to get to Maddox when he took off running, but in the police news conference he did not state that at all.  But, in the second interview the reporter is asking him more direct questions and that may be why.  Ian stated further that when he got to where Maddox would have been there were two ways he could have run and he did not know which path he took, as he was out of view.

Ian also told WBTV that a man on a bench said he saw Maddox run by and the man told Ian he had asked the boy where was his parents, but Maddox did not answer and kept running.  I do not know at this time if the “man on the bench” has been found and questioned by the police.

The police are still asking for people to call in if they were at the park that day.  It doesn’t matter if you saw anything or not, if you were at the park, PLEASE call the police.

Sept. 26 – Father speaks to GMA

A press conference on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

My friend, Matt at Lost in the Crowd:  Missing Persons has let me know that Maddox Ritch is missing.

“This little fellow is 6-year-old Maddox Ritch. He was last seen at Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia, North Carolina on September 22nd 2018 around 1:30 PM. He was wearing an orange t-shirt with the words ‘I Am The Man’ printed on it and black shorts. If you have any information about Maddox, please contact the Gastonia Police Department at 704-866-3300.”

Maddox’s is has special needs.  According to Rachel Bagley, a Gastonia spokeswoman, “They were walking around the lake. They got around to the backside of the lake, he started running, according to the parents, and when they started running after him, they lost sight of him, and no one has seen him ever since.”

Rankin Lake Park
Rankin Lake Park

Many agencies have been at the park since Maddox was reported missing and have been searching for him throughout the night, but have not located him at this time.  The park has been closed as the search continues for Maddox Ritch.

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