Body of autistic Florida boy Alejandro Ripley found in lake after he was kidnapped by men looking for drugs
The non-verbal boy was taken from his mother's car after the thieves stopped it and asked for drugs
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLORIDA: A nine-year-old autistic boy from Florida who sparked a desperate search overnight after being abducted from his mother's car by two men looking to score drugs was found dead in a lake.
Authorities in Miami-Dade confirmed early on May 22 that a body discovered floating in a lake in the area of SW 62 Street and 138 Court was that of Alejandro Ripley.
Previously, an Amber Alert had been issued for Alejandro with autism after he was kidnapped from the parking lot of a Southwest Miami-Dade Home Depot, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) revealed.
Officers responded to the scene along the 15750 block of Southwest 88th Street around 9 pm on May 21.
A store employee told WSVN that the abductors crashed into the mother's car before taking off with the child.
“I saw the police, so I tried to ask somebody, and they told me they kidnapped a kid,” he said on condition of anonymity. “They took objects from the mother, and it’s really impressive how you see these things happen in Miami because you don’t expect somebody to get kidnapped here in Miami, so it’s very frustrating to think that happens here.”
Alejandro was last seen wearing a blue Captain America shirt, black shorts, and black Crocs shoes. He is described as white, Hispanic, standing 4 feet, 11 inches tall, weighing 120 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
According to investigators, the youngster is non-verbal and has a distinct scar on his left leg.
The child's mother, identified as Patricia Ripley, 47, told authorities that the abduction took place shortly before 9 pm, Detective Angel Rodriguez of the Miami-Dade Police Department said.
"The victim was with her son as she was driving westbound on SW 88 Street from 157 Avenue, when she noticed she was being followed by an unknown vehicle," Rodriguez said. "The driver of the unknown vehicle attempted to side-swipe her vehicle, forcing her to veer onto SW 158 Avenue."
According to the detective, the mother claimed she was blocked in by the other car.
"The vehicle then blocked her in while a male passenger ambushed her, demanding drugs," Rodriguez said of the woman's account. "When she said she didn't have any drugs, he stole her cellular phone and abducted her son, fleeing southbound in the unknown vehicle."
That said, the two men are believed to have been driving a light blue four-door sedan.
"One of the abductors may be wearing all black clothing and a black bandanna as a face mask," Miami-Dade police said. "He may also have cornrows in his hair."
Authorities posted a message on Facebook saying the Amber Alert has been canceled, adding: 'We are very sad to report that the child was found deceased.'
So far, no arrests have been announced in connection to the boy's kidnapping and death.
Anyone who sees the suspects is urged to call 911 immediately, or call the Miami-Dade Police Department at 305-476-5423 with any information that could help investigators. One can also call FDLE at 1-888-FL-MISSING (1-888-356-4774).