“I Just Want My Baby Home” | Mother Of Maddox Ritch Speaks Out For The First Time

WATCH LIVE: Officials are providing an update on the search for 6-year-old Maddox Ritch in Gastonia. #wccb #news #ncnews #missing #missingchildren

Posted by WCCB, Charlotte's CW on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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The mother of a missing 6-year-old Gastonia boy spoke out for the first time Tuesday during an official news conference with local and federal authorities.

RELATED: Search Continues for Six-Year-Old Boy Missing in Gastonia

During an emotional address, Carrie Ritch thanked the community for their help in the search for her son, Maddox, and described him as her “whole world” and “reason for living.”

Ritch then pleaded for residents to call the tip line with any information they may have on her son’s whereabouts, saying “I just want my baby home.”

The FBI also announced a $10,000 reward being offered for information leading to Maddox’s whereabouts, and urged the community against spreading rumors or false information about the search over social media platforms.

Regarding search efforts, officials say any area where Maddox could possibly be located is being searched and re-searched every day by new teams and personnel. Sonar, divers and other new equipment are also being used during those searches.

Officials say Rankin Lake Park is roughly 250 acres and “bound by swamp land.” It is closed to the public until further notice.

Anyone with information is asked to call a special tip line dedicated to the Maddox search, 704-869-1075.

Original Story – September 24, 2018

GASTONIA, N.C. – The search continues for six-year-old Maddox Ritch. The little boy’s dad reported him missing on Saturday.

Maddox’s father sent WCCB Charlotte’s Morgan Fogarty a statement Monday saying:

“I want to thank everyone for showing up to search for Maddox and also thank everyone for their prayers. We are trying to help the police in any way possible. They are still asking the public to just wait and let the professionals handle the search.”

It was another busy day for crews searching for Maddox. They combed woods, searching through dumpsters, and draining back the Rankin Lake shoreline. Monday, they began searching further outside the park.

“We still want to do everything possible to find Maddox and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to do that,” says FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jason Kaplan.

Maddox’s father told police Maddox ran ahead of him and another unknown adult at Rankin Lake Park Saturday. He says they lost sight of Maddox, who hasn’t been seen since.

Investigators released new pictures showing the t-shirt and type of shoes the boy was wearing. They say he is autistic and is non-verbal.

Police and Federal Agents say they aren’t ruling anything out. During a news conference, they were peppered with questions about the boy’s parents.

Rev. Raymond Johnson asked investigators why Maddox’s parents aren’t coming out and pleading for help.

“The child is out there and we don’t know where the child is, but you protecting the parents. This ain’t right, that don’t pass the smell test,” Johnson says.

Investigators say the boy’s parents are asking for privacy but are cooperating.

“We recorded messages from them and are playing those messages now so that if he’s lost in the woods, he’ll be able to hear those messages played, we’re hoping he’ll come to the words from his mother and father,” Kaplan says.

The Gastonia Police Chief was asked if the boy’s father is a suspect. He said, “You know at this time, we’re looking at all possibilities.”