March 17, 2011
Sacramento, California
Ka Yang (29, pictured left) kills her daughter Mirabelle Thao-Lo by putting her in a microwave

Paramedics responded to a 911 call made by Yang requesting help for her youngest child, 6-week-old Mirabelle. The infant had burns over 60% of her body, from head to toe, though her hair and pajamas were not singed. Yang claimed she had been working on her computer while holding Mirabelle when she had a seizure. She woke to find her daughter burned and next to a space heater.

Detectives noted several inconsistencies in the story: had Mirabelle been burned by the space heater, her clothing and hair would have been damaged as well; Mirabelle’s autopsy revealed she had radiation burns to internal organs and her pacifier had been found in the microwave; and, while Yang had a history of epilepsy, the responding paramedics noted she was not disoriented. Detectives addressed these inconsistencies with Yang who then claimed she might have a split personality.

Prosecutors stated Mirabelle had been in the microwave between 2.5 to 5 minutes to cause the injuries she received, and pointed to the false information Yang provided to family and paramedics about Mirabelle’s death to suggest she had consciously killed her daughter. The defense demonstrated Yang had no criminal record and no history of child abuse with her three older children, hoping to receive a lighter sentence on the basis of those factors. The jury deliberated for a day before finding Yang guilty of first-degree murder, sentencing her to 26 years to life in prison. Yang will be eligible for parole in April 2032.

California inmate search. CDCR number WF3808. Accessed: March 17, 2020.
Brouwer, Shawn. “Sacramento mom gets life in prison in daughter’s microwave death.” KCRA. December 18, 2015. Accessed: March 17, 2020.
Smith, Darrell. “Mom convicted of murder in 2011 killing of infant daughter.” The Sacramento Bee. November 13, 2015. Accessed: March 17, 2020. (image source)
“Mom arraigned in microwave death of baby.” The Lompoc Record. June 24, 2011

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