FBI Charlotte(GASTONIA, N.C.) — As the FBI and local authorities desperately search for a 6-year-old boy who went missing in a North Carolina park, investigators are using divers, helicopters, drones and the boy’s parents’ voices to try to find him.Maddox Ritch, 6, who has autism and does not talk, went missing Saturday while at the Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia with his family, police said.Maddox has blond hair and blue eyes, weighs 45 pounds and is 4 feet tall, police said. He was wearing black shorts, closed-toe sandals and an orange T-shirt that reads “I am the Man” at the time he went missing, according to police.On Monday, authorities checked dozens of dumpsters and went to businesses near the park asking for surveillance video while police dogs re-searched areas, the Gastonia Police Department said.Crews searched the park’s lake using sonar and divers Monday.Helicopters and drones have also been used in the search, police said.Authorities have also recorded messages from Maddox’s parents and are playing those messages in the woods of the park in the hopes that their voices will persuade him to come out if he’s there, FBI Special Agent Jason Kaplan said Monday.Former FBI agent and ABC News contributor Brad Garrett said that the idea of broadcasting Maddox’s parents’ familiar voices makes perfect sense.Children with special needs “tend to be extremely close to their parents,” Garrett told ABC News. “If you have a kid that can’t really communicate but his parents talk to him every day … I completely understand why they would do it.”Garrett said the FBI likely recorded the phrases Maddox’s parents use with him most often.But as authorities turned to the media for help this week to spread the word about Maddox’s disappearance, the boy’s family shared their thoughts in a statement.“I want to thank everyone for showing up to search for Maddox and also thank everyone for their prayers. We are trying to help the police in any way possible. They are still asking the public to just wait and let the professionals handle the search,” Maddox’s father said in a statement Monday to WCCB in Charlotte.At a news conference Monday, authorities said Maddox’s mother and father have asked for privacy, and their names have not been released.Police urge anyone who was at Rankin Lake Park on Saturday to call the tip line at 704-869-1075.“We have spoken to many people who were there, but we want to make sure we talk to them all,” Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton said in the statement released by police Monday. “No piece of information is too small. Something you may think is insignificant could be helpful to our case.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
ZAP Fitness elite runners will compete for top marathon title this weekend The California International Marathon will host the US Marathon Championships this weekend in Sacramento, California. The event is the national championships for marathon running in the United States. Winners take home the title of the American National Marathon Champion and a purse of $20,000. The diverse field of runners includes seasoned veterans and marathon newcomers. ZAP Fitness, a training center for Olympic hopefuls in Blowing Rock, NC will send 5 athletes to compete in the race. Joanna Thompson is coming off a 10thplace finish at the Boston Marathon in April. Andrew Colley, Matt McClintock, Joe Stilin and Josh Izewski are each making their marathon debuts and have sub-64-minute half-marathon personal bests. The oil and gas industry renews push for offshore drilling despite a ban by Florida voters Florida voters recently approved an amendment to the state Constitution banning offshore drilling along the coast. In response, the Florida Petroleum Council released a report detailing a projected $2.5 billion in revenue that could be made possible from personal and corporate income tax, property tax and sales tax as a result of offshore drilling. Opponents of offshore drilling point to industrial disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that dumped 184 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and produced massive losses in Florida’s tourism and seafood sectors. Opponents also point out that oil represents a very small portion of Florida’s economic activity. Rare Mandarin duck inexplicably makes home in Central Park A rare and colorful Mandarin duck native to East Asia has recently been spotted at the Central Park Pond in New York City. It’s presence baffles birders because the Mandarin duck does not live in the US outside of zoos. Theories on the bird’s arrival in Central Park include a daring escape from a local zoo, though no zoos have reported a missing Mandarin duck, or an escape or dump by a private owner. Observers note that the duck has a black bank around its leg, indicating that it was once privately owned. No matter its origin story, the New York Postreports that the duck is integrating well with its surrounding wildlife, including mallard ducks—a staple on the Central Park duck scene.