Mom gets prison for murder of child left in hot car to remove ‘lustful demons’

Angela Phakhin, sentenced for the murder of her daughter
Angela Phakhin was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the murder of her 3-year-old daughter.
(Rancho Cordova Police Department)

A California mother has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in the death of her 3-year-old daughter, whom she left in a car for more than nine hours on a hot summer day in 2017.

Angela Phakhin, 29, was convicted last month of first-degree murder in the case.

Phakhin and her fiancé, 48-year-old Untwan Smith, moved with the girl to the Sacramento area from Arkansas and were living in their SUV, authorities said at the time.

After the death of her daughter, whose name was Maiya, Phakhin told police she and Smith were “trying to remove lustful demons” from the child, according to Sacramento County prosecutors.

Over a two-week period in June 2017, Phakhin and Smith exposed Maiya to extreme summer temperatures by leaving her in a car for hours at a time. Phakhin had been warned repeatedly to take Maiya to a cooling shelter, but she refused, prosecutors said.


On one occasion, they left the girl in a car for 4 1/2 hours. The next day, they left her in a car for 9 1/2 hours, which led to her death, prosecutors said.

Rancho Cordova police officers arrested Phakhin and Smith on June 28, 2017, after they discovered the couple’s vehicle parked the wrong way on Rod Beaudry Drive.

Officers approached the couple and discovered Smith had an outstanding warrant from Arkansas. When they began to search the vehicle, authorities found the unresponsive girl under blankets in the back seat. The child was pronounced dead at the scene.

Smith is awaiting trial on a murder charge, according to court records.