Report: Two charged with murder after deliberately leaving disabled 13-year-old in car for several hours

Updated: Aug. 6, 2019 at 6:09 PM EDT
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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Two people have been charged with murder after authorities say they deliberately left a disabled 13-year-old girl in a car for several hours leading to the child’s death in Colleton County.

Rita Pangalangan, the mother of the child, and Larry King were denied bond during a court hearing on Tuesday.

Both were charged with murder with malice and aforethought. Pangalangan is a teacher in the Colleton County School District and has been placed on paid leave effective immediately, according to district spokesman Sean Gruber.

According to a newly released report, Pangalangan and King left the child in a vehicle for several hours unattended on Monday.

Investigators said at 11 a.m., the suspects placed the child in the vehicle while both were in their home.

Pangalangan checked on the child at 12:15 p.m., and at 3 p.m. Pangalagan went to check on the girl again and found the vehicle’s doors were locked, according to authorities.

A report states Pangalangan and King then left the home to get a spare set of keys. Authorities reported when the suspects returned at 4:15 p.m., the child was dead.

Colleton County Fire and Rescue crews responded to the home in regards to a report of a child left in a vehicle. Authorities had said they were near the 11,000 block of Low Country Highway in Ruffin for a suspicious death.

CCFR officials said when responders arrived, a family member had already removed the child from the vehicle, and the child’s condition was beyond help.

“Upon arrival, investigators determined the child was deceased,” CCSO officials said.

A report states the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s Child Fatality Division and Crime Scene Division responded and assisted Colleton County investigators with the incident.

“As a result two suspects have been arrested in this case,” CCSO officials said."Rita Pangalangan and Larry King have both been charged in the minor child’s death."

Both suspects were locked up at the Colleton County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

According to the Colleton County School District’s website, Pangalangan is a national board certified teacher at Blackstreet Elementary. In addition, she was teacher of the year in 2014.

Rita Pangalangan in bond court on Tuesday.
Rita Pangalangan in bond court on Tuesday.

Colleton County Fire-Rescue officials said they responded to 16,685 Low Country Highway at 4:52 p.m. after receiving information from dispatch officials that a child was not breathing due to be locked in a car.

“This location is in a very rural area about one mile south of Sniders Crossroads (SC Hwy 63),” CCFR officials said."Our first units arrived eight minutes after the dispatch."

A report states that a family member had already pulled the child from the vehicle and she was lying in the yard next to the car.

According to emergency officials, a SLED agent who was in the area, was the first officer on the scene. S

he heard the dispatch information on the radio and a sheriff’s deputy arrived shortly thereafter, a report states. .

“Unfortunately the child’s condition was beyond help,” CCFR officials said.

Larry King in bond court on Tuesday.
Larry King in bond court on Tuesday.

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