Mother, Boyfriend Charged With Murder After 13-Year-Old Girl With Special Needs Dies in Hot Car

A South Carolina couple have been charged with murder.
Rita Pangalangan, left, and Larry King Jr. Colleton County Sheriff's Office

A South Carolina mother and her boyfriend have been charged with murder following the death of 13-year-old girl with special needs who was left in a hot car for several hours, authorities said.

Rita Pangalangan, 49, and Larry King Jr., 41, are being held without bail pending their arraignment in Colleton County, officials said. 

The couple placed the child in a vehicle outside the mother's rural home on Monday morning, according to the Colleton County Sheriff's Office. She remained there until about 4:15 p.m., and was dead by that time, the department said.

Citing an ongoing investigation, a spokeswoman told that other details, including why the girl had been placed in the car, would not be immediately released.

Cristina Pangalangan was incapable of caring for herself, authorities said.

Paramedics responding to a 911 call reporting the girl was not breathing were unable to revive her. She was "beyond help," Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy told local reporters Tuesday.

Temperatures in the area that day were as high as 91 degrees. A cause of death has not been released.

The mother is a teacher and has been placed on administrative leave, according to the Colleton County School District.

Cristina, who attended a district school, was described as a "very motivated student," in a statement released by district administrators.

"All of us in the Colleton County School District are deeply saddened by the death of Cristina Pangalangan, an eighth-grade student at Colleton County Middle School. Cristina truly enjoyed spending time with her classmates and loved to get attention. She had a smile for all of the adults at school that worked with her, and her teachers described her as a very motivated student. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her," the statement said.


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