Mom Caught on Video Pushing Autistic Son into Canal an Hour Before Allegedly Murdering Him


A video of a Miami woman who has been charged with murder in her autistic son’s death has surfaced showing what police say was her first attempt to kill the child.

Patricia Ripley faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, premeditated murder and first-degree murder of her 9-year-old son Alejandro.

In a video obtained by Univision, a woman identified as Ripley is seen walking a child to the bank of a canal in suburban West Kendall and then forcefully shoving him into the water.

The woman runs off before returning about 20 seconds later with a bystander who saw the boy in the water, and they rescued him.

WARNING: The following video is disturbing.

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Authorities said this was Ripley’s first attempt to kill her son on May 21, the Miami Herald reported Monday.

Alejandro was led to a different canal an hour later where he died, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told reporters.

The medical examiner’s office has ruled the cause of his death as drowning.

Ripley originally told Miami-Dade police that two black men had kidnapped her son after a light blue car ran her off the road near a Home Depot.

Authorities issued an Amber alert for Alejandro but began to get suspicious when Ripley gave different accounts of what happened.

The boy’s body was found the following morning in a canal near a golf and country club about four miles from where the alleged abduction took place.

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However, security camera footage at the Home Depot from the night before showed Ripley sitting in her car without Alejandro for 20 minutes before calling the police.

After hours of interrogation, Ripley confessed that she made up the kidnapping story and led Alejandro to the canal where he drowned.

She told police that “he’s going to be in a better place.”

A law enforcement officer told WFOR-TV in Miami that Ripley confessed to thinking about killing her autistic son for a while because he was more difficult to control physically as he got older.

In recent months, the mother said she had been overwhelmed caring for her son in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Her attorney, Nelson Rodriguez-Varela, said he will discuss all of the evidence at another time when Ripley has “her day in court.”

“At this time, we’re assembling a legal team in order to make sure that her rights are respected and she has the opportunity to vindicate her good name,” Rodriguez-Varela said.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith