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Mother Leads Special Needs Child in Canal Claiming He’s in a Better Place

On Behalf of | May 28, 2020 | Family Law, Miami Homicide Defense Attorney |

In West Kendall, a Miami community, police searched frantically for after his mother said they were run off the road and her son was taken. For 24 hours, the search took place throughout southwest Miami Dade until the body of 9-year-old Alejandro Ripley was found in a canal. The boy was severely autistic and said to have been kidnapped by two black men while on the way home from a Home Depot run. The mother, Patricia Ripley, seemed distraught but didn’t appear to have her story straight, leading the authorities to wonder if she was telling the truth.

Once the boy’s body was found, so was a video that showed the mother pushing him into a canal around 7:20 p.m. where she was interrupted by a good Samaritan who helped to “save” the boy, before she took him to another canal and lead him in again. Once the holes in her story began to be exposed, the mother admitted the deed and said her son was in a better place.

Ripley was then arrested and appeared during a brief court hearing on May 24th, via closed-circuit television wearing a special gown for inmates under suicide watch. A judge ordered she be held with no bond on a count of first-degree murder. She is also charged with attempted first-degree murder. Her son was non-verbal and received special tutoring at home during the recent home learning stages of quarantine. Investigators say the married mother of two may have been overwhelmed by the amount of attention her special needs son required.


Ovalle, David, and Charles Rabin. “‘In a Better Place.’ Miami Mother of Drowned Autistic Boy Admits Leading Him to Canal, Cops Say.” Miamiherald, Miami Herald,

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