The search continues to a 6-year-old with autism who was missing in a Gastonia park on Saturday, members of the police said on Monday afternoon.
The search area was widened by two miles on Monday and officials used dogs, off-road vehicles and a drone to comb the area where Maddox Ritch was last seen, according to a press release from the Gastonia police.
Maddox has special needs and does not talk, officials said. He is blonde and blue-eyed and wore an orange T-shirt with the text: "I am the man", a black shorts with a white stripe and sandals with a closed nose, according to the FBI & # 39; s missing person poster.
He visited the Rankin Lake Park on Saturday when he was missing and civil servants search for both the lake itself and the environment. They are planning to drain some water from the lake to expose the coastline, the Observer & # 39; s new partner WBTV reported. Dogs will re-examine the drained area.
Members of the Gastonia SWAT team went through dozens of containers by hand, the police said, and officers went to companies closed at the weekend to find out if they had a useful surveillance video.
The parents of Maddox recorded audio messages for him, WBTV reportedand the messages are played during the search in case Maddox hears them.
Authorities will not identify the parents of Maddox or describe their relationship, WBTV reported. Both parents are cooperative, officials said. The child reportedly visited the park with his father and another adult, who was not identified.
Asked if the father of Maddox is a suspect, the Chief of Gastonia said that officials are investigating all possibilities, WCCB reported .
Agencies that are involved in the search try to talk with everyone who visited the park on Saturday, according to the press release of Monday. They can call the tip line at 704-869-1075.
On Monday evening, the Gastonia police announced that researchers had contacted the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons, which Amber Alerts issued for missing children.
Based on the research to date, Maddox & # 39; case does not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert, Gastonia police said. Warnings are not issued for children who have run away or for children suspected of being with a parent unless they are at risk, according to the Center for Missing Persons in North Carolina.
Jane Wester: 704-358-5128, @janewester