A 6-year-old North Carolina child has been reported missing.
As WSOC-TV reports, Maddox Scott Ritch was last seen around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 22.
Monday began the third day of the search. The FBI, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and 22 other agencies are still working together to find the child, WBTV reports.
Police said about 125 people have assisted in searching for the child around the area where he was last seen, including the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s helicopter.
Surveillance video from the park is also being reviewed.
The agencies are supposedly looking into all possible outcomes, including abduction. According to FBI Special Agent Jason Kaplan:
“We’re going to explore all possibilities, including abduction, but we’re also going to make sure we search every inch of land around here to make sure that he’s not simply lost.”
Maddox is described as being 4 feet tall and weighing 45 pounds. He was last seen wearing black shorts and an orange T-shirt with the words “I’m the man” written on it. He has blond hair and blue eyes.
As WSOC reports, Maddox has autism and is nonverbal. As a result, the FBI is working with a group that is trained specifically in working on “mysterious missing children’s cases.”
According to police reports, Ritch was last seen at Rankin Lake Park with his dad and another adult, who has not yet been identified.
Gastonia spokeswoman Rachel Bagley spoke with WSOC about the case:
“They were walking around the lake. They got around to the back side 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.”
Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton spoke during a press conference on Sunday afternoon asking the public for their help in the search for the young boy:
“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.”
Helton also asked those who have a “shed, barn,” or are near a wooded area and live by Rankin Lake Park to check those areas and call them “immediately if you find anything out of the ordinary.”
The family is said to be cooperating with authorities.
Police said park activities have now been canceled until further notice. Anyone with any information regarding Maddox’s whereabouts, please call the 24-hour tip line at 704-869-1075.