A 29-year-old former police officer admitted she was having sex with her boss while her young daughter died in her patrol car.
On Monday Cassie Barker, once an officer with the Long Beach, Miss., Police Department, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2016 death of her 3-year-old daughter, Cheyenne Hyer, from heat exposure, according to the (Biloxi) Sun Herald.
On Sept. 30 of that year, Barker left her daughter in her parked patrol car outside the home of her then-boss Clark Ladner while the two had sex and slept over a period of four hours. Although the car’s air conditioner was running, it was not blowing cold air. The Associated Press reported that Barker and Ladner were immediately fired, however, Ladner was not charged, as he told officers he wasn’t aware that Cheyenne was in the car.
Cheyenne, who was later described by former Long Beach Police Chief Wayne McDowell as a “very happy, joyful little girl” whom officers would occasionally take turns pushing in a stroller, had a body temperature of 107 degrees when she was found.
The girl’s father, Ryan Hyer, reportedly said on Monday, “Every time I close my eyes, I picture her suffering and then I picture her laying in this coffin. I still see her smiling and laughing in my head, and I would assume that smile and laughter turned to pain and suffering in that instance. It’s an image I don’t want to have, but it’s one I can’t get rid of.”
Barker had previously left Cheyenne in the car in 2015 outside a Gulfport store while she went inside, reported the Los Angeles Times. After a pedestrian called the police, Barker went on unpaid leave and welfare workers took temporary custody of the girl. Ryan says he was never told about that incident.
Ryan is suing the Long Beach Police Department and Mississippi Child Protection Services. An attorney for Ryan did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
A month after his daughter’s death in 2016, Ryan established a GoFundMe page to pay for her burial. “She was a wonderful sweet beautiful girl full of life and excitement and cannot believe she’s gone,” wrote the father. “She did not deserve this. Please help me give her the best and most importantly proper burial that she deserves so she can be at peace and hopefully give me peace.”
On Monday, Barker was jailed in the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and her sentencing was set for April 1. The Hancock County Circuit Court Clerk did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s information request.
Barker could receive a 20-year prison sentence. According to the Sun Herald, Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois told the mom, “I don’t know what I could ever do to you that could be worse than what you’ve already experienced… You will forever be entombed in a prison of your own mind.”
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