GASTONIA, N.C. -- The Gastonia Police Department in North Carolina along with two dozen other agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), are searching for a missing 6-year-old boy with special needs.
Authorities 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 is 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' and weighs 45 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes.
Those with any information regarding Maddox's whereabouts should call (704) 869-1075.
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