Some new details came out in the preliminary hearing about this case - the child may have been dead for a few days before she dumped his body. I posted this last year, when the call came in....still breaks my heart, and makes me mad.

Body of her 19-month-old son found in trash bin near home

By Jose Luis Jiménez
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
September 27, 2007

VISTA – Phatsary “Erika” Panyavong kept the body of her 19-month-old son inside her North County home for three days and no one noticed he was dead, according to testimony in a Superior Court hearing yesterday.

She told detectives Keithan Panyavong died Dec. 7 from a possible overdose of adult medication while she was high on methamphetamine, according to testimony.

Whenever her father or daughter asked for the child, Panyavong kept them away by using the excuse the boy was sick and needed to rest. When the father complained Dec. 10 about the child's foul odor – believing the diaper needed changing – she dumped her son's body in a nearby trash bin later that night, authorities said.

Judge Marguerite Wagner ruled there was enough evidence for Panyavong to be tried for murder in the death of Keithan. If convicted, the 31-year-old faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison, prosecutor Kelly Mok said.

Panyavong remains in jail without bail.

Defense attorney Jonathan Jordan noted during the hearing that the autopsy report listed the cause of death as “undetermined.” Deputy Medical Examiner Bethann Schaber testified the child may have suffocated, either accidentally or at someone else's hand.

Jordan offered another theory: The child may have died naturally of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, known as SIDS.
Schaber disagreed because she said the child was too old and the body was found inside a bag, in a trash bin. Further, Keithan was wrapped in a sweat shirt and a Halloween costume that could have deprived him of oxygen, she testified.

Earlier in the hearing, former Child Protective Services caseworker Ansouck Phanvanh said Keithan was taken from his mother at birth after the baby tested positive for methamphetamine. He was later reunited with his father, Chan Phrakousonh, after Phrakousonh completed parenting classes. The agency believed Phrakousonh had split with Panyavong and closed the case, Phanvanh said.

The mother reported her child missing about 1:30 p.m. Dec. 11.

Because the home's windows and doors were locked, authorities theorized the child wandered off while his parents and sister slept. Dozens of searchers, aided by dogs and a helicopter, scoured the area near the Deodar Road home north of Escondido looking for the child.

Authorities also focused on the mother.

“She didn't really seem to know what was happening,” said Deputy Robert Samuels, describing Panyavong that first day. “She was really kind of blank.”

Under pressure from relatives and detectives, Panyavong told her sister what had happened, Detective Rick Scully said.

While high on methamphetamine, Panyavong gave the boy some children's Motrin about 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 and later put half of a 500 mg Tylenol capsule in his milk, the detective testified he was told by the mother.

When she later checked on the child in his crib, he was “pale and floppy”, Scully testified. She administered CPR and the child vomited, and she noticed he was cold, the detective said.

About 10 p.m., her husband went to a party in San Diego and took their daughter to a relative's home. Panyavong dumped the body while they were gone, Scully testified.

Phrakousonh, the father, told detectives he last interacted with the child on Dec. 6 and did not suspect anything was wrong, detectives said.