Six-year-old Maddox Ritch, who has autism and doesn’t speak, has been missing for three days after disappearing in a North Carolina park. Now his father is speaking out, saying he is wracked with guilt that he let his son jog ahead and then lost sight of him. “I’ve been feeling the blame since this happened. I just wish I would have caught him before he got too far away from me. It’s broken my heart to think that I just let him get too far away,” Ian Ritch told People magazine. He told authorities that he and a friend were walking with the boy in Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia on Saturday afternoon when he took off and then vanished. “I tried to find him. I don’t know where he went. Usually when he takes off running he’ll slow down and stop for me to catch up with him. This time he never stopped,” the father said, adding that he feels like people are faulting him. “People are making it out like I did something to him,” he told the magazine. “I would never hurt my little boy. I love him to death and I just want him back.” Meanwhile, Maddox’s mother, Carrie Ritch, held a press conference to plead for tips. “I want my baby back in my arms,” she said, crying. The FBI has joined two dozen agencies in the search for Maddox.
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