Trial begins for Lowcountry couple accused in child death in locked car
COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Two people are now on trial after a disabled 13-year-old girl was found dead after being left in a car for hours in Colleton County in 2019.
Cristina Pangalangan died in Ruffin in August of 2019. Her mother, Rita Pangalangan, and her boyfriend, Larry King Jr., are both charged with murder with malice and aforethought.
Authorities alleged the couple left the girl in the car deliberately and she died from the incident.
First responders were called to the house on Lowcountry Highway on Aug. 6, 2019 in the late afternoon and the child was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators said the couple placed the child in the vehicle while they were both home around 11 a.m. The two suspects then left the child unattended in the vehicle, checking on her every few hours, according to a report. At one point the car locked, so the couple left to get a set of keys and when they returned the child was dead.
Pangalangan and King were originally denied bond right after their arrests the week of the incident. Court documents show that about one month later, Pangalangan and King were each granted bond, posted it and left custody. Pengalangan’s surety bond was $100,000 while King’s surety bond was $50,000.
Pangalangan and King are being tried separately with Pangalangan’s trial scheduled first. Jury selection for her trial began on Monday morning and continued into the afternoon.
Before her arrest, the Colleton County School District’s website listed Pangalangan is a national board-certified teacher at Blackstreet Elementary and the teacher of the year in 2014.
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