MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Police said Patricia Ripley first tried to kill her autistic son at a canal in Kendall. One witness heard the panic and saw Alejandro Ripley struggling in the water.

“We were over here and we overheard some screaming. We were looking over to the canal and we saw the boy’s head popping in and out of the water,” Elier Pozo recalled.

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Pozo said before he could get to the boy, another neighbor was already there to help him.

“So they pulled him out by the arms. It was like two meters and they got him out of the canal and it looked like everything was fine,” he said.

Pozo said Patricia Ripley was desperately searching for help.

Patricia Ripley

Patricia Ripley (TGK)

However, according to authorities, she would take him from the canal on Kendall Drive and 103rd Avenue to another an hour later. His body was found at 62nd Street and 138th Court on Friday.

“He didn’t deserve anything that happened to him,” said Sofia Cabrera, a neighbor of the Ripleys.

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Cabrera remembered Alejandro as a playful child.

“He was always playing outside on his trampoline. I would hear him jumping laughing. Just overall good boy,” she said.

A law enforcement source told CBS4 that Ripley has taken full responsibility and told police the older Alejandro got the harder he was to physically control.

UM-NSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities Executive Director Michael Alessandri sent out a statement in regards to this story. He urged families with special needs children to reach out for help.

The statement read, in part:

“We remain steadfast in our mission to support individuals with autism and related disabilities and their families at every age and stage of life. We will work with our community partners and stakeholders to redouble our efforts to serve our families, expand resources, and build an even stronger community of care.”

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Patricia Ripley is being held without bond. She’s been charged with attempted first-degree murder, premeditated murder and first-degree murder.