MIAMI (WPTV/AP) -- A grand jury has indicted a Florida woman for first-degree murder in the drowning death of her autistic 9-year-old son, and prosecutors said they will pursue the death penalty.
Patricia Ripley, 45, is accused of the May 21 death of Alejandro Ripley, and a host of other crimes. She remains in jail while awaiting trial, the Miami Herald reports.
Her son suffered from severe autism and could not speak. His mother initially called 911 and said two Black men took her son after running her off a road south of Miami and took the boy, police said. An Amber Alert was issued for the boy. The child’s body was found the next day in a canal a few miles from the area she said the abduction took place.
Investigators said earlier in the evening, Ripley was caught on surveillance cameras pushing the boy into a canal. A bystander rescued the boy from the water. Police said Ripley pushed the child into the water about an hour later, and the boy drowned. She later said “he’s going to be in a better place,” a police report said.
Patricia Ripley is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse and filing a false police report. The Miami Herald reports a Miami-Dade grand jury indicted Ripley for first-degree murder this week.