Autopsy: Maddox Ritch was drowned and apparently attacked by an animal | WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio


A six-year-old autistic boy who was found dead after a six-day search in North Carolina died of a drowning likely, according to autopsy results released Thursday. The CBS affiliate, WBTV, reported that Maddox Ritch's autopsy had also revealed multiple injuries to the boy's upper neck, possibly due to an animal attack.

Nothing abnormal was revealed in the boy's toxicology report, which was also published by the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner's Office. WBTV reports that the boy was wearing the clothes that his father had last reported seeing him: a red t-shirt on which was written: "I am the man."

According to the autopsy, there was no trace of trauma or fracture.

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Chief of Police Robert Helton said he was not planning criminal proceedings. "I ask for continued prayers for Maddox's family and for everyone affected by the tragic death of this child," he said.

Police said in September that the boy's body was found in Long Creek, in the town of Gastonia. The area is about a mile from where Maddox has gone.

At the time, the FBI's special supervisory agent, Jason Kaplan, said, "It's absolutely incredible that he was found." He stated that it was "extremely difficult" to see him, even when the investigators were standing by his side.

Ian Ritch said that his son had escaped him in the park and that he could not catch him.

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