RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) – Detectives have made an arrest in the investigation into the death of a toddler found in the back of an SUV in Rancho Cordova.

Deputies descended on a Rancho Cordova street leading to River Bend Park Wednesday afternoon, searching for clues into how the toddler-aged girl died.

A deputy made the discovery earlier in the afternoon searching through the SUV after finding it parked in the wrong direction, and a records check of the SUV owners turned up a warrant out of Arkansas.

The girl, who has since been identified as 3-years-old, was declared dead at the scene.

On Thursday, detectives arrested 46-year-old Untwan Smith and 27-year-old Angela Phakhin. 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 car since arriving in California back in February.

baby death arrest Mother, Boyfriend Arrested After Girl, 3, Found Dead In Car In Rancho Cordova

Untwan Smith and Angela Phakin’s booking photos. (Credit: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department)

It is still not clear how the toddler died. Detectives are waiting on a report from the coroner’s office.

“There were no obvious signs of trauma, so they’re still in the beginning stages of this death investigation,” said  Sgt. Tony Turnbull with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

Smith and Phakhin are facing charges of child endangerment and conspiracy. They’re being held at Sacramento County Jail on $1,000,000 bail.


  1. Send them back to Arkansas at least Arkansas will make them ride the lightning for their crime.

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