MAJOR DEVELOPMENT: Body found in creek near area where 6-year-old vanished

Maddox Ritch

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A body has been found in a creek across from Rankin Lake Park, where the search for 6-year-old Maddox Ritch has centered for the past several days.

According to our Cox Media Group sister station WSOC-TV in Charlotte, officials have blocked off the area near Robinson-Clemmer Road and Old Dallas Highway.

Stay with Channel 2 Action News and as details continue to develop on this breaking news.


Ian Ritch and a friend were with Maddox last Saturday at the Gastonia park when Ian said his son Maddox decided to take off and got too far away from him.

Maddox hasn't been seen since.

Hundreds of people have been working round-the-clock to find Maddox, and police said they are following nearly 250 leads.

More than 60 new investigators and agents have been added to the search party, bringing the total to 330.

An elite FBI dive team with specialized equipment was brought in to assist in the search in Rankin Lake on Thursday.

Authorities said they hoped the advanced technology would help them finish searching the lake. Officials also were in the process of draining parts of the lake.

North Carolina Emergency Management teams broadened the search area deeper into the marshlands and further east and north through the woods surrounding the park.

Information from our Cox Media Group sister station WSOC-TV in Charlotte was used in this report.