WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – The mother of a 9-year-old boy with autism who was found dead near a Southwest Miami-Dade golf course has been arrested and charged with murder.
Patricia Ripley, the mother of Alejandro Ripley, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and attempted premeditated murder, early Saturday morning.
She is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in West Miami-Dade without bond.
“For everyone that has sent their condolences, I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Alejandro’s older brother said in a Instagram post. “I’ll respond to all of you when I’m able to. All I’m going to say is everyone who knows my family, brother, mother, father, you know. Thank you all and God Bless.”
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle held a press conference at 11 a.m., Saturday, discussing the case.
The state attorney said Ripley pushed her son into a canal twice.
According to the arrest report, Ripley was allegedly caught on surveillance video pushing the boy into a canal in the area of Southwest 103rd Avenue and Kendall Drive at around 7:30 p.m., Thursday. However, the boy was rescued by nearby residents, the arrest report states.
After being confronted with information regarding the first incident, police said in the arrest report that Ripley admitted to driving to a canal near the Miccosukee Golf & Country Club, at Southwest 138th Court and 62nd Street, at around 8:30 p.m.
When she arrived, the mother allegedly led the 9-year-old to the canal, where he would drown, according to the arrest report.
Upon revealing the circumstances of the incident, Ripley said, “He’s going to be in a better place,” the arrest report states.
“Heartbreaking. Heartbreaking. We’re totally shocked. We’ve never seen anything like this in our neighborhood,” said Karlo Medina.
An AMBER Alert was issued after investigators said Alejandro was taken from the parking lot of a Southwest Miami-Dade Home Depot just before 9 p.m., Thursday.
Patricia initially told police two men forced her off the road near Southwest 88th Street and 157th Avenue and blocked her vehicle in.
“The passenger of the vehicle exits the vehicle, approaches the mother and demands drugs,” said Miami-Dade Police detective Angel Rodriguez on Friday. “The mother is insisting that she does not have any drugs, and so the passenger, at that point, reaches in, grabs her cellphone, steals the cellphone and takes her child.”
The AMBER Alert was cancelled after a passer-by found a body near the golf course.
“You see something, like this person did, they said something,” Miami-Dade Police detective Chris Thomas said. “They called us and we came to investigate.”
Police are calling the discovery of Alejandro’s body as a homicide.
Meanwhile, 7News cameras spotted undercover detectives at the family’s home on Friday.
“It’s tough. I mean, I have a granddaughter, and I don’t wanna see no kids go through that,” Medina said.
People have been stopping by the area where detectives pulled the boy’s body from the lake, leaving flowers and hugging each other, wondering what happened.
“It’s horrible. We haven’t had something like this happen in a long time in this county,” a passer-by said. “My heart’s broken.”
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