A 6-year-old boy with autism who was found dead following a six-day search in North Carolina died of probable drowning, according to autopsy results released Thursday. CBS affiliate WBTV reports that the autopsy on Maddox Ritch also noted multiple wounds to the boy’s upper neck likely from an animal attack.
Nothing abnormal was revealed in the boy’s toxicology report, which was also released by the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office. WBTV reports the boy was wearing the clothing his dad reported last seeing him in: a red T-shirt that read, “I’m the man.”
There was no evidence of trauma or broken bones, according to the autopsy.
Police Chief Robert Helton said that he doesn’t expect to file criminal charges. “I ask for continued prayers for Maddox’s family and everyone touched by this child’s tragic death,” he said.
Police said in September that the boy’s body was found in Long Creek in the city of Gastonia. The area is about a mile from where Maddox disappeared.
At the time, FBI supervisory special agent Jason Kaplan said “it is absolutely amazing that he was found.” He said it was “extremely difficult” to see him even when searchers were standing next to him.
Ian Ritch said his son ran away from him in the park and that he couldn’t catch him.
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