FBI Joins Search for Missing 6-Year-Old Autistic Boy in North Carolina

Authorities are searching for a 6-year-old boy with autism, who is described as nonverbal and has been missing since Saturday.

Maddox Scott Ritch was last seen at Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia, North Carolina, according to city police. Gastonia is about 23 miles east of Charlotte.

Maddox was last seen with his father and another adult at the park around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, according to CNN affiliate WSOC-TV.

“They were walking around the lake,” Rachel Bagley, Gastonia spokeswoman, told WSOC. “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.”

Since Maddox’s disappearance, about 100 to 125 people have searched the more than 1,400 acres in and around Rankin Lake Park, police said. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s helicopter joined the search Sunday evening. All activities at the park are canceled and it will remain closed to the public until further notice, police said.

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SOURCE: CNN, Amir Vera