A Florida woman who reported her son kidnapped in May prompting an Amber Alert now faces the death penalty after an indictment for first-degree murder in the autistic boy’s drowning death in a canal.
The Miami Herald reported that Patricia Ripley of West Kendall was indicted by a Miami-Dade grand jury for the murder of 9-year-old Alejandro Ripley, and prosecuters said in an hearing they would seek the death penalty.
The Herald said the boy suffered from severe autism and could not speak. On May 21, Ripley called 911 saying two Black men had run her car off the road and taken her son. A statewide Amber Alert was issued the following day, but the boy’s body was found in a canal near the Miccosukee Golf & Country Club in Kendall Lakes.
Investigators found video showing Ripley pushing her son into a canal in an earlier incident, but he was rescued by a bystander, the Herald reported. Police say Ripley then pushed her son into the water again about an hour later, and he drowned.
Police reports said Ripley admitted to making up the kidnapping story, leading him to the canal and saying “he’s going to be in a better place,” the Herald reported.
Ripley remains jailed awaiting trial.