Florida mom facing murder charge after autistic son, 9, found dead, police say

A Florida woman who authorities say initially told them her 9-year-old son was kidnapped now faces a murder charge in connection with his death.

Patricia Ripley, 47, of West Kendall, was booked into the Miami-Dade County jail early Saturday following hours of questioning by police, the Miami Herald reported.

Her arrest came after her son, Alejandro, was found dead Friday in a pond at the Miccosukee Golf & Country Club, the report said.

An Amber Alert had been issued Thursday night regarding Alejandro, whom authorities were initially told was abducted from outside a Home Depot store

RELATED: 9-year-old Miami boy at center of Amber Alert found dead

According to the Herald, the suspect told police a car had forced her vehicle off the road near the store, then two men jumped out of the vehicle and demanded drugs. She then said the men grabbed the boy and drove off when she couldn’t comply with their request.

But security footage from the Home Depot shows Ripley sitting alone in her car for 20 minutes before calling the police at 8:47 p.m. Thursday, a source told the Herald. The woman eventually admitted being linked to the boy’s death, sources told the paper. 

No further details of the case were immediately available.

Ripley was being held without bond, Miami’s WPLG-TV reported.

About two dozen people gathered Friday for a memorial service for the boy outside The Friendship Circle of Miami, a center for children with special needs, that the boy attended before a shutdown because of coronavirus rules, according to the station.

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