Two people were arrested in connection with a 3-year-old girl found dead inside a vehicle parked on the side of a Northern California road on Wednesday, officials said.
Angela Phakhin, 27, and Untwan Smith, 46, were taken into custody on suspicion of child endangerment and conspiracy around 12:30 p.m. after a police officer found them in their Toyota RAV4 along Rod Beaudry Drive in Rancho Cordova, according to a statement from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
The officer approached the car after noticing it was parked facing the wrong direction, deputies said.
Although Phakhin and Smith were its registered owners, the officer uncovered an outstanding warrant for Smith’s arrest in Arkansas.
While searching the vehicle, police discovered the toddler unresponsive under some blankets in the beat seat, according to sheriff’s officials.
The girl did not show obvious signs of trauma but was pronounced dead at the scene.
“They put the child in a risky situation that most likely caused her death,” Sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Turnbull said. “That’s why they were arrested for the child endangerment at this point.”
The exact cause of the 3-year-old’s death has not been determined, pending an autopsy report from the county coroner’s office.
Phakhin was her biological mother, while Smith is Phakhin’s boyfriend, investigators
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