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Police: Mom Drowned Her 'Voiceless' Son in a Canal

Patricia Ripley, 45, has been charged in Florida
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 23, 2020 2:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Miami woman faked her son's abduction after trying to drown him twice, with witnesses rescuing the boy from a canal the first time, and the second attempt ending in the boy's death, officials said Saturday. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said Patricia Ripley, 45, is facing attempted and premeditated murder charges and being held in jail with no bond, the AP reports. No attorney was listed in jail records. The boy, Alejandro Ripley, 9, was autistic and nonverbal. He was found floating in a canal Friday. In an interview Saturday, Fernandez Rundle said Ripley apparently tried to drown her son an hour earlier at a different canal but nearby residents heard yelling and rescued him. Then, Fernandez Rundle said, Ripley drove her son to another canal.

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"Unfortunately when she took him to the second canal, and there was no one there," said Fernandez Rundle. "She tried it once, and people rescued him. He was alive. He could have stayed alive. She intended, from all the facts of the case, to kill him." Fernandez Rundle said an autopsy was being done on the boy Saturday to determine if he had other injuries or perhaps had something toxic in his system. She said no decision has been made yet on whether to seek the death penalty. Fernandez Rundle also noted that because the boy was nonverbal, he could not have told his rescuers what had happened with his mother: "We talk about children being voiceless," she said. "This is another level of voicelessness. He was incapable of saying that 'mommy put me in the water.'"

(Read more drowning stories.)

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