Police following 80 leads, still hopeful they'll find Maddox Ritch
Gaston Gazette - 9/25/2018
Sept. 25--Investigators say their focus remains on finding a 6-year-old autistic boy missing since Saturday, but have now entered into a phase of the investigation an FBI officer described as both investigative and a search for Maddox Ritch.
Police are following up on more than 80 leads in trying to locate the little boy reported missing while on an outing at Rankin Lake Park with his father and an unnamed adult.
"We're not ruling anything out," said Jason Kaplan, a special agent with the FBI. "We still want to do everything possible to find Maddox and we're hopeful we'll be able to do that."
Part of that effort includes help from his parents, Kaplan said.
"We worked with his father and mother yesterday and we recorded messages from them," Kaplan said. "And we're playing those messages now so that if he's lost in the woods he'll be able to hear those messages played and we're hoping he'll come to the words of his mother and father.
"Both his mother and father have been very cooperative with us as we have tried to find their son."
Investigators have also grown tired of false rumors on social media.
"Do not spread rumors on social media about the search for Maddox Ritch. Information is being released by our official channels. Don't be responsible for redirecting our efforts away from where they need to be.... we should all unite to #FindMaddox," the FBI wrote on its Twitter page.
Rankin Lake Park remains closed as the search continues into its fourth day.
You can reach Kevin Ellis at 704-869-1823 or Twitter.com/TheGazetteKevin.
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