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.