Craig Allen Ripple, the now 57-year-old former resident of Wellford Lane in Palm Coast arrested two years ago on two felony child neglect charges after spiking his step-child’s medication with laxatives, out of spite, was sentenced to 14 months in prison followed by three years on probation.
Circuit Judge Terence Perkins imposed the sentence Thursday at the Flagler County courthouse. Ripple was also ordered to take parenting classes and to have no contact with the child. The child’s mother divorced Ripple soon after discovering what he’d been doing.
“The investigation revealed that [Ripple] had been engaging in malicious acts with no real purpose other than to cause emotional distress to” the child and his sibling, court papers indicate. The court documents point to a pattern of sadism on Ripple’s part: he would take possession of the children’s clothes, homework and jewelry and hide them just to see them and their mother look for the items, to no avail. After discovering that he’d been tampering with her child’s medication, Ripple’s then-wife discovered missing items in the trunk of his car.
Several times Ripple poured liquids onto the children’s beds to make it look like the family pet had urinated there. His wife saw him do that through camera footage, after she’d placed a surveillance camera in her child’s bedroom to try toi determine what was happening to his medication.
The case, prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Melissa Clark, was making its way to trial in April, and was set for docket sounding–when a trial date is scheduled–when Ripple agreed to a plea on one felony count of child neglect, which exposed him to a maximum of five years in prison.
Individuals who face such charges generally are able to escape a prison or jail term and contend with probation, and often are able to have their adjudication withheld, sparing them the designation of a felon. Not Ripple. It was an open plea, meaning that the actual sentence would be left up to the judge, rather than be negotiated between the prosecution and the defense. Perkins imposed the prison sentence and adjudicated Ripple guilty, making him a felon for life.
There is an ironic footnote to the case: Ripple takes 17 prescription drugs related to diabetes, blood pressure and heart issues, among others–drugs he will have to trust will not be tampered with when he serves his time in prison.
See the previous article below.
Man Accused of Spiking 14-Year-Old Son’s Medication With Laxatives Blames ‘Spite’ and Disrespect
April 25, 2020–Craig Alan Ripple was briefly at the Flagler County jail Friday night on a charge of felony child abuse following an eight-month investigation that determined he’d allegedly spiked his 14-year-old son’s medication with laxatives for a year.
Speaking with his wife in a recorded phone call, Ripple blamed “spite” and feeling disrespected for the variously bizarre behaviors she accused him of, including pouring water on one of his children’s beds, taking some of his children’s belongings and making them disappear, including jewelry, their homework and library books, and tampering with his son’s medication.
The 14 year old was on lithium to treat his mood and behavioral disorder. But from August 2018 to July 2019, the boy complained of persistent diarrhea and abdominal pain, to the point that he underwent such unpleasant procedures as colonoscopies and endoscopies in efforts to diagnose the problem. The boy finally decided to stop taking his medication because he found it tasted strange and made him ill.
One of the family members had installed a video camera in the children’s bedroom, which captured Ripple carrying out some of his behaviors.
In July 2019, the child’s mother discovered that his medication may have been tampered with. The lithium capsules were intermingled with capsules that didn’t match the prescribed medication. She examined the suspect capsules, and Googling the description (the suspect capsules were pink with a black imprint of the number 5), the indication was that they were laxatives.
The parent met investigators at the State Attorney’s Office in early August, 2019. In the course of the investigation that followed, detectives determined that 11 of 28 capsules in the lithium prescription had been different. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s laboratory confirmed that the different pills were laxatives.
When detectives spoke with Ripple, he conceded that he’d introduced different pills into the bottle–but that they were anti-diarrhea pills, and that he was trying to help the child.
A warrant was signed for Ripple’s arrest on April 24. He faces charges of child abuse and child neglect, each a third-degree felony. He was at the jail only briefly, posting $7,500 bond. Ripple’s divorce from his wife became final in February. The victim, a sheriff’s release states, has since moved out of state and is no longer in contact with the suspect.
“This is a very bizarre case and it takes a sick and twisted individual to administer laxatives to a child without his or his mother’s knowledge,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “I hope the courts deal harshly with him and that this is a wakeup call that this behavior is dangerous and will not be tolerated. Thankfully the victim was not significantly injured.”