2 detained after toddler found dead in truck in Sacramento County

Henrietta Brewer
June 30, 2017

A couple from Arkansas, believed to have been living out of their auto in California, is behind bars after a toddler was found dead in their back seat.

Angela Phakhin, 27, and Untwan Smith, 46, face child endangerment charges.

Authorities stated they believe the couple arrived in California in February 2017. The child was unresponsive and declared deceased at the scene.


A sheriff's deputy first noticed an SUV parked the wrong direction in the street in Rancho Cordova Wednesday.

'The motor officer noticed two subjects around the auto, ' the statement read.

Phakhin and Smith were being held on $1 million bail each and are scheduled to be arraigned in Sacramento Superior Court on Friday.


Officers then searched the auto and found a child under some blankets in the back seat.

Investigators determined the couple was the registered owners of the vehicle, and a records check revealed Smith had an outstanding warrant out of Arkansas, according to the sheriff's department. Detectives say Phakhin is the girl's biological mother, while Smith is the woman's boyfriend; both are believed to have been living out of their vehicle since arriving in California back in February. There was no obvious signs of trauma on the girl's body.

It was not immediately known when and how the child died; a cause would be determined after an autopsy is completed. Detectives with the Sheriff's Child Abuse Bureau and the Sacramento County Coroner are conducting the investigation.


The male and female owners of the vehicle at the scene were detained and are being questioned by detectives. Children under the age of four comprised 81.6% of these deaths.

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