Father of Missing 6-Year-Old Maddox Ritch Speaks About Search

GASTONIA, N.C. – The father of six-year-old Maddox Ritch is talking publicly about what happened when the little boy disappeared. Thursday will mark six days missing.

“It’s been torture. I’m not eating. Not sleeping. Just worried about getting my little boy back,” Ian Ritch said.

Saturday was the first time he and Maddox visited Rankin Lake Park. He says Maddox started running when a jogger passed by, only going a little ways first.

“And then he went to a major sprint after that, and that’s whenever I took off running after him,” Ritch said.

He says he lost sight of Maddox and couldn’t catch him, in part, because he has diabetes and nephropathy in his feet.

That’s the last time anyone says they’ve seen the little boy.

“I feel guilt for letting him get so far ahead of me before I started running after him,” Ritch says.

Wednesday night, dozens gathered at a vigil to sing, pray, and light candles for Maddox.

“It’s wet outside. I know, people don’t want to come out tonight. But you just gotta think about what this child might be going through as he’s out in the rain right now,” says Timothy Waters.