The police release 911 call of missing autistic boy
6-year-old Maddox Ritch disappeared during a walk with his father and another adult in Rankin Lake Park in North Carolina.
A mysterious person wearing a camouflage hat and loading a kayak in a white truck may be the last person to see a North Carolina boy who was missing for several days before being discovered dead on Thursday, officials said.
The police had hoped to speak with witnesses who were present at Ranklin Lake Park in Gastonia on Saturday if Maddox Ritch, 6, disappeared, the officials said. They were hoping to find a man seen in a white truck, CBS News reported.
A body believed to be of Maddox Ritch was also found in Gastonia, North Carolina.
Ian Ritch, who reported Maddox missing, said his son has non-verbal autism. The boy was reportedly running ahead of Ian Ritch and disappeared from his sight, while they were in the park. The father was with another friend, who is not identified.
BOY BELIEVED TO BE MISSING NORTH CAROLINA BOY WITH AUTISM FOUND, FBI SAYS
Hundreds of officials from the FBI and Gastonia police and fire departments cleaned up the park during the last six days to find Maddox. The FBI offered a $10,000 reward for information, and on Thursday, officials expanded search swamps and forests in the area.
After a nearly weeklong search for Ritch, the FBI announced Thursday that a body believed to be that of the missing boy was found in the vicinity of the park. Authorities say the body was found in a creek by a viewfinder, ABC 11 reported.
“With a heavy heart, we announce a body adopted 6-year-old Maddox Ritch was found on about 1 hour off of Marietta Street/Old Dallas Highway in Gastonia. Maddox’s parents have been informed of the discovery. The investigation is ongoing,” FBI Charlotte announced Thursday.
With a heavy heart, we announce a body adopted 6-year-old Maddox Ritch was found on about 1 hour off of Marietta Street/Old Dallas Highway in Gastonia. Maddox’s parents have been informed of the discovery. The investigation is ongoing.
— FBI-Charlotte (@FBICharlotte) September 27, 2018
FBI supervisor Special Agent Jason Kaplan said in a press conference on Thursday that “the investigation is not over yet.”
MISSING NORTH CAROLINA BOY WITH AUTISM NOT SEEN IN THE PARK, THE EMPLOYEE WHO CALLED 911 SAYS
“You don’t need anything of that, except to understand that, in the enforcement of the law, we will not take anything for granted,” he said. “So there is a lot of work and a lot of people who have lost a lot of sleep committed to continue to make sure that we answer every question we can about where Maddox was, how his movement has occurred and how it was, and that he ended up where he did.”
Ian Ritch wrote a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday night, thanking the people who helped search for his son.
“I will now, and forever will be a broken man, until I take my last breath. I have never been a very spiritual person, but I want to when I die, my little boy will be the first person I see when I am in heaven. I can’t wait to see his little smile on his face,” he wrote.
Fox News’ Katherine Lamb contributed to this report.
Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her via @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.