North Carolina 6-year-old Maddox Scott Ritch was reported missing earlier this week after he vanished during a visit to a park with his father.

Now, police believe they have discovered his body.

Police Handout

FBI Charlotte said in a statement on Twitter:

With heavy hearts we announce a body believed to be 6-year-old Maddox Ritch was found at approximately 1 p.m. off of Marietta Street/Old Dallas Highway in Gastonia. Maddox’s parents have been notified of the discovery. The investigation is ongoing.

As Dearly previously reported, Maddox had autism and was nonverbal. His father, Ian Ritch, said that the child disappeared on Saturday after running away from him at Rankin Lake Park.

The dad said his son chased after a jogger, according to CBS News:

“I couldn’t catch up with him. I feel guilt for letting him get so far ahead of me before I started running after him.”

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The father called police about an hour after Maddox went missing.

Ritch said that he has taken at least two polygraph tests regarding his son’s disappearance, but it’s unclear if police believe he may be involved.

The body was discovered in a creek near the park. His parents have not released a statement about the discovery.

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Police Believe They’ve Found Body of 6-Year-Old With Autism Who Was Reported Missing Earlier This Week

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