The boy’s mother, Patricia Ripley, said that at about 8:47 p.m. on Sunday night, a light-blue sedan being driven by two men cut her off. However, according to an NBC News report, which itself cited a report from the Miami-Dade County Police Department, the driver tried to “side-swipe” her vehicle.
Regardless of what happened, the vehicle wound up being boxed in, and Ripley could not escape. The driver then came to the vehicle and demanded drugs. When Ripley told the men that she didn’t have any drugs, they stole her cell phone and abducted her son. The mother did not know the two men.
Police later issued an Amber Alert for the autistic child.
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A Florida AMBER Alert has been issued for 9-year-old Alejandro Ripley last seen in Miami. The child was abducted by two males. If located, DO NOT APPROACH. If you have any information please contact the Miami-Dade Police Department at 305-476-5423 or 911. pic.twitter.com/wclDe96qgz
— FDLE (@fdlepio) May 22, 2020
The body of a young male child, presumed to be that of Alejandro Ripley, was found early Friday morning, about four miles away from where he was abducted.
Specifically, the body was found near a lake at the Miccosukee Golf and Country Club, which is owned by the Native American tribe of the same name.
Though law enforcement authorities have not, as of this writing, confirmed the identity of the victim, a statement from the tribe mentioned the boy by name.
“The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida is deeply saddened to hear about the tragic loss of 9-year-old Alejandro Ripley. The Tribe is fully cooperating with authorities in their investigation and offer their sincerest condolences to his family,” the statement reads.
Similarly, Rabbi Yossi Harlig, Executive Director of Friendship Circle Miami, which is also near where the body was found, expressed his condolences to the family. Specifically, he referenced the fact that Alejandro Ripley was autistic and couldn’t advocate for himself.
“No child should ever be in this position, especially a child with special needs who cannot call out for help,” the rabbi said.
Friendship Circle, which provides support services to the special needs community in Miami, plans to hold a memorial service for the boy on Friday in its parking lot. Mourners will be asked to maintain social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mourners can bring sympathy cards, mementos, and flowers, which will be collected and delivered to the Ripley family.
As of this writing, police do not appear to have any leads into the abduction, and are asking the public for tips.