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Police chief: We are 'deeply saddened' to learn body found in creek was Maddox Ritch

Four days after search crews found a body in a creek in Gastonia, the Medical Examiner's Office identified the remains as six-year-old Maddox Ritch.

WCNC Staff

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Four days after search crews found a body in a creek in Gastonia, the Medical Examiner's Office identified the remains as six-year-old Maddox Ritch.

Ritch's body was found in a creek near Marietta Street and Old Dallas Highway in Gastonia on Thursday, September 27. Maddox disappeared on Saturday, September 22 when he got away from his father and another adult at Rankin Lake Park.

“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.”

About 180 searchers came out to help find the missing boy Thursday, according to Gastonia Fire Chief Phil Welch. Like Helton, Welch said Thursday was a very sad day.

"There is no sense of accomplishment today," Welch said. "There's grieving."

On Sunday, the funeral plans for Maddox Ritch were made public. A visitation will be held Thursday, October 4 from 7-9 p.m. at Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home in Huntersville. A funeral will be held the next day at the same location before a private burial service.