During their time at the park, Maddox ran off out of Ian’s sight, leaving his dad unable to find him. After searching for a while, Ian contacted a member of staff, who then called 911 an hour later when Maddox still hadn’t turned up. “We’ve got a missing kid,” the person making the call said, according to WISTV. “He’s been missing for the last 30-40 minutes. Hour maybe. We searched everywhere.”
That call sparked a town-wide search for Maddox that lasted five days, with the community coming together to help find the youngster. Alongside local volunteers, police also utilized all-terrain vehicles and drones in the surrounding areas, combing the city of Gastonia tirelessly.
A few days into the search, Ian offered some in-depth insights to the media about what had happened, describing the last time that he’d seen his son. “All of us was together,” the dad told CBS News in September 2018. “Everything was great. And then a jogger passed by, and as he was jogging past us, that’s when Maddox started to jog out behind him.”