MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Nine-year-old Alejandro Ripley is dead. And in a sinister twist, detectives are accusing his mother, Patricia Ripley, of killing him, News 6 sister station WPLG reports.
A day after she told police officers two men had abducted her son, the 45-year-old mother arrived at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center to face charges of first-degree murder and attempted premeditated murder. She is being held on Saturday without bond.
“He was the world to his parents,” said Antoinette Uribe, who knows the Ripley family since Alejandro and her son were both patients of the My Kid Therapy Center in Country Walk.
Alejandro was an autism spectrum disorder patient. Uribe said she remembers him as a sweet and happy boy. He was a non-verbal patient and with the coronavirus pandemic, he had been spending more time at home.
Uribe was among the couple of dozen people who attended a memorial service Friday afternoon at The Friendship Circle of Miami, a nonprofit organization that offers services for children with special needs.
THE ALLEGED ABDUCTION
While Miami-Dade Police Department detectives were still investigating the case, Uribe and others at the memorial were convinced that two men had abducted Alejandro about 8:40 p.m. on Thursday and killed him.
Detectives were suspicious when they saw surveillance video at Home Depot at 15750 SW 88 St. It showed Patricia Ripley waited in her parked car for more than 15 minutes before reporting the abduction.
Detective Angel Rodriguez, a spokesman for the police department, said she provided a detailed account.
“She noticed she was being followed by an unknown vehicle. The driver of the unknown vehicle attempted to side-swipe her vehicle, forcing her to veer onto SW 158 Avenue,” Rodriguez wrote. “The vehicle then blocked her.”
She said one of the two men ambushed her at Southwest 158th Avenue and Southwest 88th Street in The Hammocks. He demanded drugs before snatching her mobile phone and Alejandro away from her, Rodriguez said.
ALEJANDRO’S BODY SURFACED
When officers found Alejandro dead about 7:50 a.m. on Friday in the quiet Kendale Lakes neighborhood, he was still wearing the Captain America T-shirt his mother had told officers about on Thursday night.
Alejandro’s body was floating in a small lake at the Miccosukee Golf and Country Club. Officers noted there was trauma to his head.
Detective Christian Thomas, a spokesman for the department, didn’t reveal any details about the death investigation, but he said detectives were still in communication with Patricia Ripley.
“We are taking every detail into consideration,” Thomas said.
THE FLORIDA AMBER ALERT
To help find Alejandro, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued an Amber Alert on Thursday night.
About an hour after officers placed the crime scene tape next to the golf course, the FDLE announced the Amber Alert was canceled.
“We are very sad to report that the child was found deceased,” an FDLE spokesperson wrote on Twitter asking anyone with information to call police at 305-476-5423.
Thomas and Rodriguez asked anyone with information about the case to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.
THE CRIME SCENE
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The Friendship Circle of Miami will be holding a memorial service today for Alejandro Ripley, the 9-year-old autistic youth who was found deceased this morning. The service will be taking place in the parking lot of the Friendship Circle campus. Sympathy cards, mementos and flowers will be collected and then delivered to the family. The service will be conducted in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Participants are being asked to stay by their cars during the service and wear masks. Please note: While Alejandro was not a member of the Friendship Circle, every individual with special needs is part of our extended family. WHAT: Memorial Service for Alejandro Ripley WHO: Friendship Circle Miami, Rabbi Yossi Harlig WHEN: Friday, May 22, 2020 TIME: 4:00 pm. WHERE: Friendship Circle of Miami, 8700 SW 112 Street, Miami, Florida
The Florida Amber Alert for Alejandro Ripley has been cancelled. We are very sad to report that the child was found deceased.— FDLE (@fdlepio) May 22, 2020
If you would like further information, please call the Miami-Dade Police Department at 305-476-5423.
Urgent! Please share!— FDLE (@fdlepio) May 22, 2020
A Florida AMBER Alert has been issued for 9-year-old Alejandro Ripley last seen in Miami. The child was abducted by two males. If located, DO NOT APPROACH. If you have any information please contact the Miami-Dade Police Department at 305-476-5423 or 911. pic.twitter.com/wclDe96qgz
🚨 We need your help in locating Alejandro Ripley, a 9-year-old autistic/non-verbal boy that was abducted near the area of SW 158 Avenue and 88 Street. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is requested to IMMEDIATELY call 9-1-1 or @CrimeStopper305 at (305) 471-8477. pic.twitter.com/8wFCBL5AcG— Miami-Dade Police (@MiamiDadePD) May 22, 2020