An Autistic Mom's Perspective on Alejandro Ripley's Murder

Alejandro Ripley was a 9 year old autistic boy who lived in South Florida, same area as I do. He was described by one of his neighbors as a playful child. He was always laughing while jumping on his trampoline. “Overall a good boy.”

Patricia Ripley, his mother (I use this term loosely), led him to a canal, not once but twice. The first time, some bystanders saved him. She tried it again and succeeded. She drove him to another body of water but there was no one there to save him.

This is not what she originally told local authorities. She told them that her son had been kidnapped by two black men. She admitted what she had done to authorities after being confronted about her contradicting statements and video evidence showing her pushing him into a canal. There were also witnesses that placed her in the same place where his body was found. She admitted to considering murdering her son for months. Mr. Ripley, Alejandro’s father does not want to believe his wife could do this to their son.

The only positive thing about this whole situation is that Patricia is held without bail.

This is filicide. There is no nice way to describe it. I am a mother of 6 children, 3 of them autistic, 3 of them have ADHD, 3 of them my biological children, 3 are my husband’s half siblings. My biological children I had to go from specialist to specialist just for my children to exist. I had to work through 3 failed pregnancies to find the right dose and frequency of medication that was successful. I appreciate my children.

My non biological children, my husband and I went through background checks, home studies, flights to and from New York, trying to convince all these officials who had no idea who these children were that we were the right fit for them. This process took 2 years. It was heartbreaking and stressful but the end result was well worth it. I would do it over again if I had to.

Both A and N are 9 years old. They are the same age as Alejandro. There is no excuse for this. There is a live video of Autism One where they make excuses for this murderer. “There is no excuse for murder but the court should consider mitigating circumstances.” This is murder. Too many parents murder their disabled children and get off because their children were disabled. The poor mother. For one second, they do not consider the child. How is the child affected. “They must be so desperate.” This needs to end now.

As an autistic parent I am sad, angry, grieving and confused about this whole situation. It should never have happened. Alejandro deserved all the opportunities and resources that would have been available to him. I have hugged my children tighter. Children are a gift. Thats how they should be viewed by their parents, not as burdens.

Parenting isn’t easy. This goes for neurodivergent and neurotypical children. Parenting is hard. There are resources here that she could have taken advantage of. Nothing in life is easy. I am a parent of 6 children, all neurodiverse. I would not change anything but it is not easy. Find a groove that works for you. Reach out for help if you are struggling. There are resources. If you cannot find them, contact a case manager that can help you with that. Parenting is the most challenging and most rewarding thing you will ever do. It is not for everyone but those who choose to do it, there needs to be accountability. When you have a child, you take a chance that your child will not be typical. Keep this in mind.


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