Video Shows Florida Mom’s First Attempt To Drown Son In Canal
Patricia Ripley’s autistic 9-year-old boy was later found dead in a nearby lake.
A Florida mom who claimed her autistic son was kidnapped has confessed to killing him and faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted premeditated murder, police say.
On May 21, Patricia Ripley, 45, was caught on security video allegedly pushing 9-year-old Alejandro Ripley, who is non-verbal, into a canal in Southwest Miami-Dade, WSVN-TV reported.
One eyewitness, who asked not to be named, told the station Ripley initially “looked to be hugging her kid” and “it didn’t look like anything abnormal at all.”
Alejandro then plunged into the canal.
“The only weird thing was that at first she was just standing there until she [heard] me screaming, and that’s when she took off screaming for help,” the witness noted.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said at a May 23 press conference that local residents sprang into action and pulled the young boy from chest-high water.
About an hour after his rescue, Ripley brought her son to a nearby lake, according to Fernandez Rundle.
“This time, unfortunately, there was no one there to save him,” the state attorney said.
Ripley called 911 after allegedly killing her son. She claimed two men had boxed her car in on a road near a Home Depot and abducted Alejandro when she couldn’t meet their demands for drugs, the Miami Herald reported.
A passerby found Alejandro’s body in the lake the next day.
An arrest report stated Ripley admitted to killing the child and told police that “he’s going to be in a better place” when confronted with information about the first incident.
“It’s devastating. It’s heartbreaking. His life was cut too short,” Alejandro’s former teacher, Arlene Torres, told WSVN-TV.
“Your heart breaks for him. It breaks for the family, and you wish you could have been there,” she added. “You wish you could have changed what happened and the outcome.”
Loved ones, including the accused’s husband, Aldo Ripley, are struggling to cope with the tragedy, Fort Lauderdale’s WPLG reported.
"We love Alejandro and we do not agree with everything they say about my wife,” he said following Ripley’s first court appearance last week.
Ripley is being held without bond at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in West Miami-Dade.