Body Found in Gastonia Believed to be Maddox Ritch

GASTONIA, N.C. - Sources have confirmed a body has been found in a creek across from Rankin Lake Park, where the search 6-year-old Maddox Ritch was reported missing.

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 are 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 has been brought in to assist in the search in Rankin Lake on Thursday.

"They have specialized sonar equipment,” Swecker said. “They would grid out a search even though it's a lake bottom."

Authorities said they hope the advanced technology will help them finish searching the lake. 

Officials are also in the process of draining parts of the lake.

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

"Things like footprints and physical searches, I would say are close to winding down,” Swecker said.

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