Patricia Ripley, accused of drowning her autistic son in a canal, was indicted for first-degree murder in the drowning death of her son
Prosecutors in Zoom court on Oct. 29, 2020, announced that thy will seek the death penalty against the mother-of-two
The Florida mother ‘drowned her nine-year-old autistic son in a Florida canal then faked his abduction’ by ‘two black men’
Miami-Dade grand jury indicted Patricia Ripley, 45, for first-degree murder in May 21 drowning of her son, Alejandro Ripley, in a canal
Ripley who shared two sons with her husband Aldo Ripley, in June, pled not guilty to first-degree murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse and filing a false police report
Footage showed Ripley apparently trying to drown her son at another canal before neighbors rescued him
Police said mother then drove the boy to a canal at a golf club where he was later found dead
Officers noted that because the boy was nonverbal, he could not have told his initial rescuers what his mother had done
A Florida mother who has been accused of drowning her autistic son in a canal and then concocting a bogus kidnapping story now faces the death penalty after being indicted for first-degree murder.
A Miami-Dade grand jury this week returned an indictment against Patricia Ripley, 45, stemming from the drowning death of her special-needs son, Alejandro, 9, in May.
During a Thursday morning court hearing, prosecutors announced that they would seek the death penalty against the mother.
Under Florida law, only someone who is indicted by a grand jury can receive the death penalty.
Ripley faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse and filing a false police report. She pleaded not guilty to those counts in June, reported Miami Herald.
Ripley initially claimed she was ambushed in Miami on the evening of May 21 by two black men, Miami-Dade police said.
The mother claimed the attackers demanded drugs and took her cellphone, tablet and son, before fleeing, prompting an Amber Alert in the area south of Miami. Alejandro Ripley was severely autistic and nonverbal.
The boy’s body was pulled out of a canal at the Miccosukee Golf and Country Club the next morning as police continued to interrogate the mother.
After residents at Kendall Acres Condominium complex rescued Alejandro from the canal, police said Ripley drove him to the Miccosukee Golf and Country Club and drowned him in a canal there.
An arrest affidavit said she provided ‘conflicting statements,’ and finally was confronted with testimonies of witnesses and video showing the first of two attempts to drown her child.
Footage obtained by Univision shows Ripley walking with Alejandro, stroking his head, then appearing to shove him into a canal at the Kendall Acres Condominium complex. She then runs off screen before returning with neighbors who heard yelling and saved the boy.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in May that an hour later, Ripley drove her son to the other canal at the golf club.
‘Unfortunately, when she took him to the second canal, and there was no one there,’ Fernandez Rundle said. ‘She tried it once, and people rescued him. He was alive. He could have stayed alive. She intended, from all the facts of the case, to kill him.’
The prosecutor noted that because Alejandro was nonverbal, he could not have told his initial rescuers what had happened with his mother.
‘He can’t say anything to his rescuers,’ she said. ‘We talk about children being voiceless. This is another level of voicelessness. He was incapable of saying that “mommy put me in the water.”‘
According to the arrest affidavit, Ripley ultimately recanted her story about the abduction and admitted to leading her son into the canal stating, ‘He’s going to be in a better place.’
Another hearing in Ripley’s case is scheduled for next week. She remains jailed without bond.