Child found dead after running from his dad at park to be laid to rest

Visitation for Maddox Ritch (WSOC / CNN Newsource)

Exactly one week after the body of a 6-year-old boy was found in a creek, friends and family of Maddox Ritch will gather to pay their respects as he is laid to rest on Friday.

Ritch disappeared after he ran from his father while at a park in North Carolina. Volunteers searched for days before his small body was found in a creek.

Ritch's father arrived at a visitation on Thursday night carrying a bucket of toys for his son. Family members thanked neighbors, friends and community members for their support in the search for Maddox.

"Your heartfelt perseverance through this very difficult time will ever be forgotten," said aunt Del Lindley. "We realize that our prayers are your prayers also. And that our tears your tears too."

It's still unclear how Ritch died. Authorities are still awaiting autopsy results.

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