South Carolina

Woman leaves kids in hot car week after sister died in their mom’s hot car, SC cops say

Hot cars: Children are being left alone inside vehicles as temperatures increase

What to do if you see a child alone inside a car? What authorities say in regards to children being left alone inside hot cars.
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What to do if you see a child alone inside a car? What authorities say in regards to children being left alone inside hot cars.

A South Carolina woman whose mother was charged with murder a week ago after leaving a child in a hot car was arrested Monday after her children had to be rescued from inside a hot car, the Walterboro Police Department said.

Ashley Pangalangan left her two kids, a 7-year-old and a 6-month-old, inside of a car while she was shopping at Walmart, Lt. Amye Stivender said in an interview with The State.

On Aug. 6, Pangalangan’s mother, Rita Pangalangan, was one of two people charged with murder after she left another daughter, a teenager with special needs, inside a hot car where she died, The State reported.

Rita Pangalangan and her boyfriend Larry King left 13-year-old Cristina Pangalangan “inside a vehicle for five hours,” leading to her death on Aug. 5, according to WCIV. King, 41, was also charged with murder, per The State.

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Larry King, left, and Rita Pangalangan were charged with murder in the death of Pangalangan’s 13-year-old special needs daughter. COLLETON COUNTY DETENTION CENTER

A week after her sister died, 30-year-old Ashley Pangalangan was charged with unlawful conduct of a minor, Stivender said.

At about 1:30 p.m. Monday, officers found her children inside a running car where the air conditioning was not working properly, causing warm air to blow on them, according to Stivender.

The temperature in nearby Charleston at 1 p.m. was 90 degrees, according to Weather Underground.

Ashley Pangalangan was arrested after leaving the Walmart and returning to her car, police said.

The children didn’t require medical treatment after getting out of the car, but were taken to a doctor for a check up before they were turned over to the Department of Social Services and placed in emergency protective custody, Stivender said.

Cristina Pangalangan was not as fortunate after investigators said her mother deliberately left the disabled child in the car, WCSC reported.

The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office said Cristina was incapable of caring for herself and was inside the car until she was “beyond help,” and died, according to WCIV.

Rita Pangalangan, 49, works for the Colleton County School District and has been put on paid administrative leave as the sheriff’s office investigates, according to The Press and Standard. She was named teacher of the year in 2014, according to WCSC.

Both she and King are being held in the Colleton County Detention Center without bond, The State reported.

Ashley Pangalangan is also locked up at the Colleton County Detention Center as she awaits a bond hearing on Tuesday, Stivender said.

KidsAndCars.org teamed up with the Fort Bend County, TX law enforcement organizations to launch a new ‘Look Before You Lock’ PSA video for TV and billboard campaign. The campaign is focused on preventing children from dying in hot cars.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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