MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Lawyers for Miami mother, Patricia Ripley, pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges she pushed her 9-year-old son with autism into a canal to drown.

At a virtual arraignment, prosecutors filed a “notice of intent” to seek an indictment of first-degree murder because they are still waiting for a grand jury to reconvene due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Under Florida law, only someone who is indicted by a grand jury can receive the death penalty.

Prosecutors also revealed Ripley is facing charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse and filing a false police report.

Alejandro Ripley (Source: Miami-Dade Police)

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Prosecutors have surveillance video which apparently shows Ripley pushing her son Alejandro into a Kendall canal, but witnesses rescued him and sent them on their way.

Then, they say, she drove him to another canal at a Kendall Lakes golf course, where he drowned.

His body was discovered the next day, just hours after she claimed to have been ambushed by two black men.  The mother said they demanded drugs and took her cellphone, tablet and son, before fleeing, prompting an Amber Alert.

According to the arrest affidavit, she told police, “He’s going to be in a better place.”

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Ripley, who remains in jail without bond, did not appear in the virtual arraignment.