Patricia Ripley is accused of first-degree murder as police investigate the death of her son, an autistic, non-verbal 9-year-old named Alejandro who was found dead in a golf course canal, according to court and jail records. According to what police told the Miami Herald, the 45-year-old Ripley said Alejandro was “going to be in a better place.”

Initially, Ripley told police that her son had been abducted by two black men who ran her off the road, demanded drugs, snatched her son and fled the scene in a light blue sedan, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. That night, an Amber Alert was issued as Florida law enforcement — including the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), Special Victims Bureau, Missing Persons Unit — began looking for two abductors: one dressed in all black with a black bandana covering his face and another with cornrows, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The Miami Herald has noted that Ripley’s case is similar to the 1995 case of Susan Leigh Smith, who was convicted of killing her two children after concocting an abduction story involving a black man who carjacked her and took off with her children.

Susan Smith Blamed A Black Carjacker for Her Sons Death. Then She Confessed

On October 5, 1994, Smith told Union County police that a black man approached her while her car was stopped at a red light, forced her out of the car at gunpoint and drove off with her 14-month-old and 2-year-old sons in the back, The State newspaper reported.

The accusations led to racial tensions in South Carolina’s county of Union, the Washington Post reported: “News that Smith had confessed to the crime angered the town’s tight-knit African American community, which found it suspicious that no one recognized Smith’s description of the purported kidnapper.”

Smith pled on TV for the safe return of her boys with her husband, David, at her side, the Post reported.

But within two weeks of reporting the abduction, Smith had confessed to Union County sheriffs that she had made up the kidnapping story and actually drowned her two children, The State reported. Smith strapped her sons, 14-month-old Alex and 3-year-old Michael, into the backseat of her car, a burgundy …read more



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Florida’s Patricia Ripley Case Has Similarities To Susan Smith Murders

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