Police are still seeking answers in the mysterious death of Maddox Ritch, a 6-year-old boy with autism who was found dead on Thursday after he went missing in a North Carolina park.
Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton has asked anyone who was at Gastonia’s Rankin Lake Park on Saturday to contact authorities. Officials are especially interested in speaking with a male jogger, who Maddox’s dad, Ian Ritch, says his son ran after that day. They are also interested in hearing from a man in a camouflage hat who was spotted loading a silver kayak into a white pickup truck that afternoon.
“If you took pictures or selfies or video, we ask that you preserve that,” Jason Kaplan, an FBI special agent assisting with the investigation, said in a press conference. “It may not be helpful to us now, and we’re not expecting that Maddox would appear in those photos, but it may have other information that may be valuable.”
The Mecklenberg County Medical Examiner’s office tells PEOPLE the cause of death has yet to be determined.
FBI agent Jason Kaplan said Thursday it is “too early” to say whether foul play is suspected and an investigation is ongoing. City officials confirmed to PEOPLE that Maddox’s parents, Carrie and Ian Ritch, were cooperating with police in the investigation.
Maddox, who has autism and limited verbal skills, was walking with his father and another adult at the park around 1:30 p.m. local time on Saturday when he took off running.
Maddox’s father, Ian, previously told PEOPLE that he and his friend were walking with Maddox near the lake that afternoon when the playful boy took off running behind a jogger. It was common for Maddox to run around, so Ian allowed the boy to jog ahead for fun, he said. But when Maddox began running faster, Ian said he took off after him and wasn’t able to catch up with his son before losing sight of the boy.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Ian said, “I will now and forever be a broken man until i take my last breath. Ive never been a very spritual man before but [now] i want to be just so when i die my lil boy will be the first person i see when i get into heaven. I cant wait to see his lil smiling face again.”
“Just please hug ur children tighter and please dont make my mistake and let them get too far away from u,” he wrote. “Do everything u can with ur children because i wont get the chance to do anything with mine.”