KENDALL (CBSMiami) – The mother of a nine-year-old boy, who reported her son kidnapped, has now been charged with his murder.
Patricia Ripley, 47, was booked into the Miami-Dade jail Saturday morning, around 3 a.m.
She has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, premeditated murder, and first-degree murder.
Ripley was taken in to custody at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
A law enforcement source tells CBS4, she admitted to thinking about killing her son for quite some time, because the older he got, the more difficult he was to control physically.
Earlier Saturday morning, she appeared in front of a judge, with her family present.
Alejandro’s dad, Patricia’s husband, Aldo made a brief statement outside the courtroom.
Fighting back the tears, he said, “We love our life. We love Alejandro and we don’t agree with what they said about my wife. It’s not real.”
Ripley did not speak during her hearing, but her lawyer says a legal team is being constructed in her defense.
“We will have another time to discuss what the evidence is in the case and certainly, she will have her day in court. At this time, we’re assembling a legal team in order to make sure that her rights are respected and she has the opportunity to vindicate her good name,” said attorney Nelson Rodriguez-Varela.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle held a press conference earlier Saturday to offer more details about the death of Alejandro.
Fernandez Rundle said that video evidence showed that the mother had pushed her son into a canal on Thursday night, where witnesses heard screams and managed to rescue Alejandro.
Watch the press conference here:
She also said the mother later drove Alejandro to a different body of water where he drowned.
“This time, unfortunately, there was no one there to save him,” Fernandez Rundle added.
“He’s going to be in a better place,” Patricia Ripley told investigators.
The arrest report says the mother provided conflicting statements.
Police said her statements contradicted statements made by witnesses and “video footage showing the defendant pushing the victim into a canal.”
On Thursday, Ripley told police she and her son Alejandro, who was autistic and non-verbal, were driving in the area of SW 88th Street and 158th Avenue around 8:30 p.m. She says two men tried to run her off the road, came up to the vehicle demanding drugs, and then took her cellphone and grabbed her son.
This prompted an Amber Alert, which was called off Friday morning when The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Alejandro was found dead.
Investigators discovered a body found floating in a lake in the area of SW 62 Street and 138 Court in southwest Miami-Dade at the Miccosukee Golf and Country Club near where the boy was taken.
A law enforcement source tells CBS4 during police questioning, Ripley broke down and admitted to making up the story about the kidnapping, after police found witnesses who claim to have seen her with the child near the lake where the child’s body was eventually found.
At this point, police have not released any details on a possible motive.
Patricia Ripley is being held on no bond.