Six-year-old Maddox Ritch has been missing since September 22nd after he became missing in the Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia on Saturday. Search and rescue teams have been working for the past six days to locate him, but things are being handled a bit differently in this case. 

Maddox is nonverbal. He is one of the estimated 1.5 million Americans currently living with autism.* Fox 46 News spoke with experts to learn more about what rescue teams are doing differently to find Maddox.


According to autism expert Sarah Nolin with Autism Charlotte, Maddox is “probably not going to be screaming for help or seeking out in any verbal way he’s in trouble or missing.”


Because unfamiliar voices or people may scare Maddox away, teams have been playing recorded messages from his parents as they search, in hopes he will be drawn to the sounds of their voices. The article also recommends that citizens in the area who are keeping an eye out should bear in mind the importance of keeping a calm tone of voice and not to yell.


“The one thing I really want people to understand is that no matter what this child is diagnosed with or what his limitations may be he's a 6-year-old child who is scared, so if you see him approach with caution just like with any kid we don’t know," Nolin said. For more information, read more here.


This is a case that is near to our hearts at Audi of Charlotte, and we hope Maddox is found safely very soon. If you have any information on the disappearance of Maddox Ritch, please call 704-869-1075.


Audi of Charlotte is a proud sponsor of Autism Charlotte and we have loved being a part of its wonderful programs geared toward families dealing with autism. For more information on the organization, visit



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