3-year-old girl dies after being left under blankets in hot car for 10 hours on summer day, mother convicted of murder
An Arkansas woman was convicted of murder on Tuesday after Rancho Cordova police found her three-year-old daughter dead in the backseat of an SUV, under blankets, on a hot summer day almost two years ago.
29-year-old Angela Phakhin was found guilty of first-degree murder after a jury unanimously ruled she was guilty of premeditated murder and felony torture in the June 2017 death of her daughter Maiya, 3, according to a news release by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday,
Untwan Smith, Phakin's fiance, is now awaiting trial on the same charges.
Police said Phakin came to California in 2016 with Maiya and Smith.
Rancho Cordova authorities found the couple's vehicle on June 28, 2017, parked the wrong way on Rod Beaudry Drive near River Bend Park, according to The Sacramento Bee.
It is now understood that Phakin and Smith exposed Maiya to “extreme summer temperatures” for over two weeks, the DA's news release said.
Shockingly, it was revealed she died after being left in the hot car for 9 1/2 hours; and had been left inside for 4 1/2 hours the previous day.
On the day of Maiya's death, the Sacramento region had reached 89 degrees, while touching 85 degrees the day before, according to National Weather Service archives.
That said, temperatures ranged between 104 and 107 degrees for five days straight the week before Maiya's death.
During interrogation, Phakin told investigators she left Maiya in the hot car “to remove the lustful demons from Maiya,” per the DA’s news release.
Also, she had reportedly ignored repeated warnings to take her daughter to a cooling shelter.
Phakin now faces 25 years to life in prison, and is scheduled for sentencing on July 19 following a month-long jury trial.
Reports of parents leaving their young children in hot vehicles have been rife of late.
On June 8, a three-month-old baby girl died after her 'tired' mother went inside the home to take a nap, leaving the child in the backseat of a sweltering hot car.
Investigators with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office said at the time they received a distress call from a 44-year-old mother from rural Butler County who called for help after noticing that her 3-month-old daughter was not breathing in the backseat of her car.