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The Gastonia Police in North Carolina have received confirmation on the identity of Maddox Ritch from the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

    Maddox was reported missing on Saturday, September 22. He was reported playing at Rankin Park with his dad. He is autistic and non-verbal. After a six day search of Rankin Lake Park and surrounding areas, a body believed to be Ritch was found in Long Creek on Thursday, September 27. The medical examiner has confirmed that this is Ritch. Autopsy results are not yet complete.

    “We are deeply saddened to learn the body found by searchers last Thursday is confirmed to be Maddox Ritch,” Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton said. “Hundreds of people searched tirelessly for this child and our work continues to answer every question we can about his tragic death.”

    Investigators remain committed to finding answers about where Ritch was, how his movement occurred and how his body ended up in Long Creek. 

    Rankin Lake Park will re-open to the public Wednesday, October 3 since being closed Saturday, September 22, when the boy was reported missing.

    The investigation is ongoing. More than two dozen agencies assisted. 

    Ritch is the nephew of Dan and Dawn Fisher of Verndale. 

    Our sincerest condolences to the family for their tragic loss. 

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