Miami-Dade County

Trial Date Set for Miami-Dade Mom Accused of Drowning Autistic Son

Patricia Ripley, 47, faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the May 2020 killing of 9-year-old son Alejandro, who had autism and was non-verbal.

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A judge has set an October trial date for a Miami-Dade mother accused of drowning her autistic son in a canal in 2020.

Patricia Ripley, 47, faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the May 2020 killing of 9-year-old son Alejandro, who had autism and was non-verbal.

Prosecutors have already announced that they'll be seeking the death penalty against Ripley. Her attorney had previously said Ripley would plead not guilty.

Miami-Dade Corrections
Patricia Ripley

At a brief hearing Wednesday, the judge in the case set an Oct. 24 trial date start, after Ripley's attorney and a prosecutor said they hadn't come to an agreement on a plea deal in the case.

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 later discovered by authorities.

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 has been held without bond since her arrest.

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