- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (AP) - A fired Long Beach police officer accused in her 3-year-old daughter’s hot-car death has a preliminary hearing in the case Nov. 8.

Cassie Barker, 27, was arrested for manslaughter in the Sept. 30 death of Cheyenne Hyer. The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/2e5UI4j ) Barker is scheduled to appear at 10 a.m. Nov. 8 before Justice Court Judge Tommy Carver, who will determine if there’s enough evidence to turn the case over to a Hancock County grand jury for an indictment.

Barker is accused of leaving the toddler in the back of her patrol car from shortly before 9 a.m. until she discovered her unresponsive at 1:15 p.m., according to records. Barker had stopped by the home of her then-supervisor, Sgt. Clark Ladner, to discuss a work-related matter. Ladner has since been fired.

Barker had worked until 6 that morning and picked up the little girl at her baby sitter’s house at 8:30 a.m. She then drove to Ladner’s home in Kiln.

She said she planned to stay a few minutes, but fell asleep and didn’t wake up until nearly five hours later. She had left the car running with its windows rolled up. According to an affidavit, the car’s air conditioning was set at a maximum level, but the temperature setting was past the cold setting and closer to the heat setting and the fan was on low.

When paramedics got the child to Hancock County Medical Center in Bay St. Louis, her body temperature was 107 degrees, Hancock County Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan said. She was pronounced dead there.

A preliminary autopsy showed the little girl’s death was heat-related but the autopsy results, including a toxicology report, are not yet complete.

Barker has been out of jail on a $50,000 bond since her Oct. 6 surrender to Hancock County deputies.

Ryan Hyer, Cheyenne’s father, said he is struggling to accept his daughter’s death, but he’s determined to get justice. He’s even had stickers made that say, “Justice for Cheyenne” with a picture of her on them.

“We don’t want people to forget about Cheyenne. It’s already been swept under the rug once when they didn’t do anything the first time,” Hyer said.

The child survived the first time Barker left her alone in a car, April 6, 2015, outside an AT&T; store in Gulfport. She was 2-years-old and in the backseat for more than a half-hour before Gulfport police rescued her.

A passer-by had reported seeing Cheyenne in the car. The state Department of Human Services temporarily took custody of the child, but she was given back to her mother two days later. Barker was never prosecuted in the case and officials failed to notify Hyer when it happened.

“I don’t want anything else swept under the rug because she’s a police officer,” Hyer said. “I want justice for my daughter.”

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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