Search for missing autistic child grows more desperate in fifth day

GASTONIA, NC - According to WBTV, the search for a missing autistic boy in Gastonia, North Carolina entered day five on Wednesday. 

Earlier, the father of six-year-old Maddox Ritch and investigators appealed for more information from the public.

Ian Ritch, Maddox's father, pleaded with anyone who was at the Rankin Lake Park on Saturday, September 22, to call the tip line and speak to authorities. Maddox is non-verbal.

Ritch described how Maddox ran ahead of him as he was walking with another adult, whom he described as a friend. 

He said he lost sight of Maddox after a while and started running after him but couldn't find him anywhere. 

Ian Ritch also said that he has diabetes and suffers from neuropathy of the feet and has trouble running. He said he feels guilty for letting Maddox get quote "so far ahead" of him before he started running after him. 

Gastonia police chief, Robert Helton, said that 130 people are now involved in the search and the investigation. Helton also pleaded for anyone who was in the park that day to speak to the authorities. 

FBI's supervisory special agent, Jason Kaplan, also asked for anyone who was in the park to preserve any selfies, photos or videos they may have taken as that too can help in the search for Maddox. 

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