Alejandro Ripley’s mother, Patricia Ripley, has been accused of killing him. On Friday, the 45-year-old mother was hit with charges of first-degree murder and attempted premeditated murder, WPLG reports. She is now being held without bond.
Alejandro had non-verbal autism. On Friday afternoon, the nonprofit organization The Friendship Circle of Miami—which provides services for children with special needs—held a memorial service for Alejandro. As the authorities were looking into the case, service attendees still believed that two men had abducted and killed Alejandro on Thursday night.
Detectives were skeptical of the mother after they watched surveillance footage from a local Home Depot, which showed Ripley sitting in her car for over 15 minutes before calling in the abduction. She described the incident in detail to the police.
“She noticed she was being followed by an unknown vehicle. The driver of the unknown vehicle attempted to side-swipe her vehicle,” Detective Angel Rodriguez, a spokesman for the police department, said in a statement. “The vehicle then blocked her.”
She then claimed she was ambushed by two black men, one of whom demanded drugs before taking Alejandro and her cell phone.
Officers found Alejandro dead on Friday around 7:50 a.m., floating in a small lake. He had experienced trauma to the head and was still in the Captain America t-shirt that his mother told officers he was wearing.