6-year-old North Carolina boy with autism missing after trip with father

GASTONIA, North Carolina -- Police in North Carolina and the FBI are working with two dozen agencies searching for a missing 6-year-old boy with special needs.

The Gastonia Police Department said Maddox Ritch, who has autism, vanished around 1:30 p.m. Saturday after going to Rankin Lake Park with his father and another adult.

The pair told authorities they got around the back of the lake when the boy started running.

When they started running after him, they lost sight of him.

Officials said Maddox is autistic and nonverbal. However, there is a special team with the FBI that is highly trained that are working to find him.

Search boats are checking the lake with divers and sonar devices.

Officials said family members have been interviewed and are cooperating.

"We're going to explore all possibilities, including abduction, but we're also going to make sure we search every inch of land around here to make sure that he's not simply lost," FBI Special Agent Jason Kaplan told WSOC.

Maddox was last seen wearing an orange T-shirt with "I'm the man" on the front.

He is 4 feet tall and weighs 45 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with any information regarding Maddox's whereabouts is urged to call (704) 869-1075.

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