One of the worst fears a parent can have is losing their child in a large, public place. Ian Ritch can sadly relate to that, as his autistic son Maddox was found dead after going missing five days earlier in a local park. And following this tragic news, the boy’s heartbroken father talked about a mistake he felt he’d made.
Residents of Concord, North Carolina, Ian and his wife Carrie were the proud parents of six-year-old Maddox. Working as a grocery manager in a local supermarket, the former built up a strong relationship with his young son, who suffered from autism.
Maddox’s autism also caused him to be nonverbal. But despite those challenges, Ian still wanted to take part in typical father-son activities with Maddox. With that in mind, he took the six-year-old to Rankin Lake Park in September 2018. Sadly, though, the family’s lives would be changed forever later that afternoon.