Maddox Ritch, 6-year-old NC boy found dead in a creek, died from a probable drowning

Maddox Ritch

GASTONIA, N.C. – Maddox Ritch, the 6-year-old boy from Gastonia who was found dead in a creek in September, died from a probable drowning, according to autopsy results.

WCNC reported the results of the autopsy on Thursday morning. Ritch was at Rankin Lake Park with his father and another person on Sept. 22 when the boy ran off, according to his dad.

Ian Ritch, his father, said his son often ran ahead of him, and then would slow down and wait for him to catch up.

But on that Saturday, the boy, who has autism and is nonverbal, ran too far ahead, and Ian Ritch said he lost sight of him.

The boy’s disappearance prompted a massive search involving crews from multiple agencies.

Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton told WSOC, “We do not anticipate any criminal charges being filed in connection with the investigation.”

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