Miami-Dade County

Prosecutors to Seek Death Penalty for Miami-Dade Mom Accused of Drowning Autistic Son

Patricia Ripley faces first-degree murder charge in May killing of 9-year-old son

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Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against a Miami-Dade mother accused of drowning her autistic son.

During a Zoom hearing Thursday, prosecutor Gail Levine said her office has filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Patricia Ripley, after she was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday.

Ripley, 45, faces a first-degree murder charge in the May 21 killing of her 9-year-old son Alejandro, who had autism and was non-verbal. Her attorney had said she would plead not guilty.

Patricia Ripley

Police said Ripley had taken her son to a lake behind a housing complex near 103rd Avenue and Kendall Drive and attempted to leave him in the water to drown. Police said video footage confirmed that Ripley pushed her son into the water and left him there by himself.

At the time, witnesses told NBC 6 that they saw a person run into the lake to rescue the young boy after neighbors had screamed for help.

That same evening, police said Ripley succeeded in killing her son at another location, a golf course canal, where his body was discovered by authorities on May 22nd.

An Amber Alert had been issued for the boy after police said Ripley told investigators that he had been abducted by two men.

According to an arrest report, Ripley recanted her story and admitted she had led the boy into the canal, saying "he's going to be in a better place."

Ripley is due back in court next week.

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