Maddox Ritch’s Mother Speaks Out Two Years After His Tragic Death

GASTONIA, NC. — On September 22nd, 2018, Carrie Ritch got a devastating call from police. Her 6-year-old son was lost in a Gastonia park.

“Each day that passes not knowing and wondering where they are, what’s going on, if someone has them,” says Ritch.

After a few days passed, Carrie’s motherly instinct kicked in.

“I just knew something wasn’t right. I just felt in my heart that either somebody had him or had passed away. I just didn’t know.”

Maddox was walking with his father and another adult here at Rankin Lake Park when he ran ahead of them. That’s the last time he was seen alive. On September 28th, 2018, after a tireless six-day search, crews found the body of the autistic non-verbal child in Long Creek, about a mile from where he disappeared. An autopsy report shows he accidentally drowned.

“I never thought this would ever happen to me. No parent ever wants that to happen to them.”

Maddox’s death captivated the community. Carrie says even strangers have been offering her support.

“He truly touched many people and I miss him every single day.”

The pain is still palpable two years later but she is moving forward. Her faith is growing stronger.

“Knowing I’ll see him again and the promise that God gives us that will see our loved ones again is what keeps me going.”