Nick Starichenko/

Authorities in Gastonia help a press conference moments ago to update the community on the case of a missing autistic child.

Maddox Ritch seemingly vanished on Saturday afternoon during an outing with his family at Rankin Lake Park.

His family said Maddox, 6, was running around when they lost sight of him.

During the presser today, officials revealed that hundreds of people are searching for the child, who is nonverbal.

After searching the lake, the search has now expanded in and around the park — Which expands 1400 acres.

Police are also urging residents who live near Rankin Lake Park to search their backyards, cars, and sheds in search of the boy.

According to WSOCTV, Maddox was last seen wearing an orange shirt, with the writing “I’m the man” on the front.

At this time, an Amber Alert has not been issued for the boy, because his case fell outside the criteria for issuing the alert.

Still, authorities say they can’t rule out the possibility that the child was abducted, however, they also admitted that they are very familiar with searches that involve special needs children. Due to these factors, the FBI has joined the search for Maddox.

Anyone with any information regarding Maddox’s whereabouts is urged to phone 704-869-1075.

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