Crime

Couple Arrested In Toddler's Death (Photos)

| by Michael Doherty
Interior of a hot carInterior of a hot car

An Arkansas couple has been arrested after a toddler was found dead in the back seat of their car.

Angela Phakhin, 27, and Untwan Smith, 46, were put under arrest near Sacramento after police discovered the body of Phakhin's 3-year-old daughter, covered in blankets, in the car that the couple was thought to be living in, Daily Mail reports.

The couple faces charges of endangering a child and conspiracy, police announced on June 29. Further charges will be determined once investigators know the cause of the toddler's death. The couple's arraignment is scheduled for June 30, according to Arkansas Matters.

Smith, who is Phakhin's boyfriend, has a number of previous arrests on his record.

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"The motor officer noticed two subjects around the car," said Rancho Cordova police in a statement. "The officer contacted a male and female adult around the vehicle, and after further investigation determined they were the owners of the car. A records check revealed the male subject had an outstanding warrant out of the state of Arkansas."

"Officers began searching the car, and located a child of toddler age underneath some blankets in the back seat," the statement continued. "The child was unresponsive and declared deceased at the scene. There were no obvious signs of trauma."

"Officers secured the scene and called detectives of the Sheriff’s Child Abuse Bureau and the Sacramento County Coroner to begin their investigation," said the statement.

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Neighbor Scott Ecklund witnessed police "roping off the park and closing it," according to KOVR.

"It's just tragic, I mean, definitely a tragedy and we need to find out how this happened and prevent it," said Ecklund.

Phakhin and Smith are being held on $1 million bail.

In a similar story, a 7-month-old baby was found dead in a car after his father left him inside the vehicle during hot weather in August 2016.

The man was supposed to take the baby to day care in the morning, but told police that he had forgotten to, according to CBS. The temperature that day was around 100 degrees.

A witness saw the child inside the car and called 911. When police arrived, they found the father banging on the car trying to get inside of it, but the child had already died.

"We need to understand that cars can be killers and cars can be very dangerous when you combine them with heat," said Dr. Bob Sanborn, the president and CEO of Children at Risk, which aims to educate parents about various dangers facing children, told KPRC. "It's kind of like being in a sauna."

"For parents, getting into a car, leaving your kids in a car, [is] something that you think is just for a second, but that can be a deadly second," Sanborn added.

Sources: Daily Mail, Arkansas Matters, KOVR, CBS News, KPRC / Photo credits: Tony R. Tolley/U.S. Air ForceRancho Cordova Police Department via Daily Mail

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