The fatality of a absent 6-year-old boy with autism whose human body was uncovered in a north Carolina creek in September has actually been classified together a “probable drowning,” follow to one autopsy report from the Mecklenburg County medical Examiner.

Maddox Ritch went lacking while ~ above a walk through his dad at a Gastonia park ~ above September 22. In comprehensive search, authorities used dogs, drones and sonar, and also partially drained one 80-acre lake to better see that is shoreline.

Maddox’s human body was found five days later on in a creek about a mile east of Rankin Lake Park, whereby he to be last seen with his father and also a friend, authorities said.

“The findings space not inconsistent through drowning,” the medical examiner’s report said. “In conjunction through investigative details at this time, which offers no clues of other than an accidental drowning, it appears reasonable to conclude the the likely reason of fatality is drowning.”

The human body was partially submerged in 2 to 3 feet that water. The area, thick with underbrush, had been searched numerous times.

The clinical examiner's report has been published in the Maddox Ritch case. Here's a attach to ours statement

— Gastonia Police (

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GPDNC) November 29, 2018

“We evaluate everyone’s patience and support while we functioned to uncover every item of evidence easily accessible to lug our fatality investigation to this conclusion,” Gastonia Police cook Robert Helton said in a statement Thursday, adding that no criminal dues were meant to be filed in link with the death.

“I ask for continued prayers because that Maddox’s family and also everyone touch by this children tragic death.”


Maddox’s father, Ian Ritch, said in so late September that he and also a girlfriend were walking when his boy ran ahead, most likely triggered by a pass jogger. Maddox was around 25 come 30 feet away when he damaged into a sprint, Ritch said.

Ritch said he “was providing him simply a tiny leeway, freedom” but he had actually a clear see of his son. Maddox frequently would run ahead however let him record up, Ritch said.

“I couldn’t catch up with him. I feel guilt for letting him gain so much ahead that me prior to I began running after ~ him,” Ritch said reporters.

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The FBI became affiliated in the case, with investigators wait to recognize the cause and manner that death, and the boy’s exact movements. At the time, authorities pleaded for anyone with information to come forward.

In an emotional Facebook write-up after the discovery of his young body, Ritch wrote: “I had large plans v my son. Ns wanted us to go fishing play ball go camping. I wanted to it is in his hero. I wanted him come say i was more than superman or batman come him. Ns wanted people to questioning him who his hero is and also him say my daddy. Now I’m no hero ns couldn’t conserve him or safeguard him in ~ all. Ns would give anything to go earlier and conserve him.”