"I've worked here nearly three years and we see everybody come in and out of that park pretty much".
Ian Ritch, Maddox's father, said he and his son, along with a friend whose name has not been released, were making their first visit to the 242-acre park.
Ritch said his son likes the outdoors and he "was giving him just a little leeway, freedom".
Maddox's father said not being able to find his son has "been torture".
"I would appreciate it if you were at the park Saturday and saw Maddox to please, urgently, please, call the tip line, please". "We've caught him at the end of the driveway a couple times. I feel guilt for letting him get so far ahead of me before I started running after him", Ritch told reporters on Wednesday.
Brundidge says keeping children with autism safe from wandering is no easy task and parents like her go to great lengths just to walk outside or do something as simple as get in a auto without their children bolting into the street. "He hasn't had anything to eat or drink". Investigators said Maddox's father lost track of his son around 1:30 p.m., but dispatch records show officers weren't called until 2:33 p.m. Ian says he couldn't catch up to the boy because he has neuropathy, a nerve condition. I want to know he's safe.
"I mean, I know I'm the number one suspect when it starts". At that time, Ritch said, he was still optimistic.
The father's interview comes a day after Maddox's mother made a tearful plea at a press conference and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced a $10,000 reward for information that leads authorities to Maddox. "He hasn't had anything to eat or drink", he said, according to the publication.
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"Continue praying for him because I just want my baby home", Carrie Ritch said. "Whatever you can do".
With the help of friends who were walking with them, Ritch searched for his son but could not find him.
Maddox Ritch was at Rankin Lake Park in Saturday when he went missing.
The FBI's Underwater Search and Evidence Response Team will report to Rankin Lake Park and be using different equipment than what has been used in previous searches of the water.
"No piece of information is too small". The Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) Team joined the search as well. The organization stated Maddox may be in need of medication.
He provides the boy's description and said the boy had been missing for about an hour.
Maddox is 4 feet tall and weighs 45 pounds. At the time he was last seen, Maddox was wearing an orange t-shirt with the words, "I am the man", printed on it.
Police ask anyone visiting Rankin Lake Park on Saturday to call the tip line at 704-869-1075.
Check back later for details as this story develops.