Four South Florida Moms Have Allegedly Killed Their Kids Since Pandemic Began

Clockwise from top left: Odette Joassaint, Tinessa Hogan, Patricia Ripley, and Precious Bland
Clockwise from top left: Odette Joassaint, Tinessa Hogan, Patricia Ripley, and Precious Bland Photos via Miami-Dade and Broward Corrections
From Casey Anthony to Susan Smith to Andrea Yates, cases of maternal filicide, or mothers killing their children, have long fascinated Americans. Experts say it's not that certain women are devoid of motherly instincts as Nancy Grace and other cable TV pundits have made them out to be, but that many of these incidents speak to the perpetrator's mental-health issues and lack of support –– both of which have been exacerbated since the onset of COVID-19.

From London to Connecticut, there have been incidents of mothers killing their children, which have been attributed to pandemic-induced depression and psychosis. South Florida alone has seen at least four cases where mothers are accused of killing their children since March of 2020. The most recent example is the case of Odette Joassaint, who is believed to have strangled her 3- and 5-year-old children in Little River on Tuesday evening.

Below is a rundown of the four local cases, listed chronolgically.

Patricia Ripley: "He’s going to be in a better place"

In May of 2020, Patricia Ripley bizarrely claimed that two men had "demanded drugs" and kidnapped her car with her 9-year-old son, Alejandro Ripley, inside — only to admit later that she'd drowned the boy in a canal earlier that day.

The 47-year-old West Kendall mother attempted to drown Alejandro, who was nonverbal and had severe autism, but her plan was thwarted when a good Samaritan rescued the boy from the water. She succeeded hours later at another canal. Ripley reportedly told Miami-Dade police that her son is "going to be in a better place."

Prosecutors have said that they'll seek the death penalty for Ripley, who remains jailed at Miami-Dade Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

Tinessa Hogan: "Death is the only answer"

In June of 2021, a mother in Broward County was arrested and accused of killing her two young daughters, ages 7 and 9, who were found dead in a canal near their Lauderhill home.

The night before the girls' bodies were found, a neighbor reportedly saw the mother, Tinessa Hogan, swimming in the canal with a Bible in her hand and offering to baptize people's children. Another neighbor said a woman believed to be Hogan was spotted a week before the deaths holding up a sign that read, "Death is the only answer."

Hogan remains in Broward County Jail awaiting trial on two charges of premeditated murder, to which she pleaded not guilty last year.

Precious Bland: "COVID is going to kill us all"

In August of 2021, Precious Bland, a mother to six children, allegedly drowned her 15-month-old baby during a baptism-gone-wrong.

According to Miami-Dade police, Bland had proclaimed that "COVID is going to kill us all" and "everyone needed to be baptized." As the baby drowned, Bland allegedly stabbed her husband and teenage daughter, who tried to stop her. Her four other children reportedly escaped the home during the incident and ran to a neighbor’s house.

Bland was charged in September with two counts of attempted second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated child abuse. She remains jailed at Miami-Dade Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

Odette Joassaint: "I don't want them anymore"

When Miami police officers responded to an apartment in Miami's Little River neighborhood on Tuesday night after several 911 hang-up calls, they stumbled upon a horrific scene: two young children, ages 3 and 5, strangled to death on a bed inside. Their mother, Odette Joassaint, was booked into a Miami-Dade jail the following morning on two counts of first-degree murder.

The 41-year-old, who admitted to strangling her toddlers to death using a red ribbon, reportedly told officers who arrived at her home to "come get them, I don’t want them anymore." Police described Joassaint as "irate" and in the midst of a mental crisis and said she told detectives that her children would "suffer less" if they were dead.

The children's father told the Miami Herald that Joassaint is unstable and had been unemployed for the past year. He also said that she'd "been begging" to move back in with him and he declined.

“I told her, ‘You are crazy. You create too much problems,’” he told the Herald.
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Alex DeLuca is a staff writer at Miami New Times.
Contact: Alex DeLuca