ID confirmed on Maddox’s body; Rankin Lake Park to re-open Wednesday

Photo of Maddox Ritch

Gastonia Police have received confirmation on the identity of Maddox Ritch from the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office. Maddox was reported missing on Saturday, Sept. 22, and after a six-day search of Rankin Lake Park and surrounding areas, a body believed to be Maddox was found in Long Creek on Thursday, Sept. 27. The medical examiner has confirmed that this is Maddox. Autopsy results are not yet complete and when autopsy results will be complete is not known at this time.

“We are deeply saddened to learn the body found by searchers last Thursday is confirmed to be Maddox Ritch,” Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton said. “Hundreds of people searched tirelessly for this child and our work continues to answer every question we can about his tragic death.”

Investigators remain committed to finding answers about where Maddox was, how his movement occurred and how his body ended up in Long Creek. Anyone who was at Rankin Lake Park on Saturday, Sept. 22, who has not already called needs to call the Gastonia Police tip line 704-869-1075.

Rankin Lake Park will re-open to the public Wednesday, Oct. 3 since being closed Saturday, Sept. 22, when Maddox was reported missing.