Carrie Ritch cries as Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton stands with her during a news conference, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, in Gastonia, N.C., as she talks about her 6-year-old son Maddox Ritch who went missing Saturday, Sept. 22, from Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia. The FBI has joined the search. (John Clark/The Gaston Gazette via AP)

Father says he panicked when he lost sight of missing son

September 26, 2018 - 1:01 pm

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — The father of a 6-year-old boy who disappeared from a North Carolina park over the weekend says it has been hard to sleep.

Ian Ritch said on "Good Morning America" Wednesday that he was walking with Maddox at Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia on Saturday when the boy ran ahead and he panicked when he lost sight of him.

On Tuesday, the boy's mother, Carrie, tearfully asked anyone who was at the park to call the tip line.

Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton says they've searched thousands of acres, drained the lake and conducted hundreds of interviews. Helton says, in particular, investigators still want to speak to speak to a jogger and anyone in a group photographing three children in Dr. Seuss costumes. He says they may have important information.

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