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Alejandro Ripley

‘He never made a sound’: Witness says she saw autistic boy fall into canal. Days later, his mother is arrested for felony murder. [Update]

A Good Samaritan spotted a Florida woman moments before her son fell into a canal; she said nothing seemed unusual between mother and son. The child’s mother would later find another canal to push the child into, where he drowned, according to police.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, security footage captured 47-year-old Patricia Ripley pushing her son, 9-year-old Alejandro Ripley, into a Miami canal at 103rd Avenue and Kendall Drive at around 7:30 p.m. on May 21. Someone helped rescued the boy the first time and even offered to call the police on Ripley’s behalf.

“It didn’t look like anything abnormal at all,” the Good Samaritan, who wanted to remain unnamed, told 7 News Miami. “I saw a woman, what looked to be hugging her kid.”

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“They were walking towards the embankment of the canal. As I get further into my patio, I think to myself, ‘Oh my, he’s going to fall down,’ and he did…The only weird thing was that at first she was just standing there, until she saw me screaming, and that’s when she took off screaming for help.”

“He never said a sound. He was very calm the whole entire time,” she added.

Another witness said he heard screaming after the boy fell into the canal. Elier Pozo said he wanted to help, but others had already pulled the child to safety.

“We were over here and we overheard some screaming. We were looking over to the canal and we saw the boy’s head popping in and out of the water,” Elier Pozo told CBS Miami. “So they pulled him out by the arms. It was like two meters and they got him out of the canal and it looked like everything was fine.”

At around 8:30 p.m., Ripley allegedly drove to Southwest 62nd Street and 138th Court, near the Miccosukee Golf and Country Club, and pushed Alejandro into another canal, where he drowned.

“An hour later, she brought the boy to a different canal … this time, there was no one there to save him,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.

Patricia Ripley [Police Handout]
Ripley initially told police that her son had been kidnapped by two black men who forced her car off-road, close to a Home Depot off of Kendall Drive, and demanded drugs. Ripley told police that when she didn’t have drugs to give them, one of the men grabbed her son, cellphone and other items.

The Miami Herald reports that a source close to the case said that security footage at the Home Depot showed Ripley sitting by herself in her car for around 20 minutes around the time the supposed abduction took place. Alejandro was not in the car with her. She then called the police. It’s unclear what phone she used to contact authorities.

Hours later, police found the boy’s body at the Miccosukee Golf and Country Club, in the canal.

After investigators confronted Ripley about her conflicting statements, she reportedly confessed to what she did and added that her son “going to be in a better place.”

Alejandro was non-verbal and autistic; he attended the Greater Heights Academy at some point, a school for special needs children. Court records indicate that the school filed a lawsuit against Patricia Ripley for $4,100 in unpaid tuition in 2016, according to the Miami Herald.

At the time of his death, he was being homeschooled. Investigators say that Ripley may have been overwhelmed in the past months.

“She had a moment there that she could have reflected on what she was doing. This was a stop, when she saw me,” the Good Samaritan said. “Instead of stopping, she decided to do this anyway.”

Ripley remains behind bars without bond. Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Alejandro Ripley/Police Handout]