RELATED: This is not the end that we had hoped for:' Body believed to be missing 6-year-old Maddox Ritch found during search
Families gathered Thursday night to pray for the boy, who had autism and was nonverbal.
Investigators believe they found the boy's body Thursday afternoon, a little more than one mile from where his father had last seen him.
Investigators said the child was partially submerged in a creek, but that it was too soon to tell if foul play was involved.
More on ABC11: 'Everybody looks at you as a monster' Father of NC boy speaks for the first time since Maddox Ritch went missing
The medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy to identify the body.
Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App