SW Miami-Dade woman who saw boy with autism fall into canal speaks out

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Southwest Miami-Dade woman is sharing her story after, she said, she witnessed a boy with autism fall into a canal in what police described as his mother’s first attempt to kill him.

The good Samaritan, who asked not to be identified, spoke with 7News on Sunday about the incident that took place near Southwest 103rd Avenue and 88th Street, Thursday.

“It didn’t look like anything abnormal at all,” she said.

The woman described the moment she first saw 9-year-old Alejandro Ripley and his mother, Patricia Ripley.

“I saw a woman, what looked to be hugging her kid,” she said.

The witness said she grew concerned when the mother and boy kept getting closer and closer to the water.

“They were walking towards the embankment of the canal. As I get further into my patio, I think to myself, ‘Oh my, he’s going to fall down,’ and he did,” she said.

The woman said she immediately called her husband, who was inside their home.

“The only weird thing was that at first she was just standing there,” she said, “until she saw me screaming, and that’s when she took off screaming for help.”

But the witness said the 9-year-old was hanging on to the embankment across the canal and didn’t seem to be in any real danger.

“He never said a sound. He was very calm the whole entire time,” she said.

The woman said the boy’s mother came back with a man who helped Alejandro out of the water.

The witness thought it was nothing more than an accident, but authorities said that wasn’t the case.

“An hour later, she again brought him and led him to a different canal. This time, unfortunately, there was no one there to save him,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Police said Patricia originally claimed two men had kidnapped her son, but once she was confronted by detectives, she confessed to killing her son and was placed under arrest.

The tragic outcome has left the resident who witnessed the suspect and her son asking herself why this could have happened.

“She had a moment there that she could have reflected on what she was doing. This was a stop, when she saw me,” she said, “and instead of stopping, she decided to do this anyway.”

Patricia has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted premeditated murder. She is currently being held without bond at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in West Miami-Dade.

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