A former police officer has confessed that she had sex with her superior and then slept at his house for four hours, while her young daughter was dying inside her overheated car.
Twenty-nine-year-old Cassie Barker, who had been charged with second-degree murder in the 2016 death of three-year-old Cheyenne Hyer, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a plea bargain and is expected to be sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
According to the Daily Mail, Barker left Cheyenne strapped inside the car for four hours on September 30, 2016, while she spent time at the home of 36-year-old Sgt. Clark Ladner after wrapping up a shift at 9 am. She reportedly had sex with Ladner and fell asleep for the next fours; and while she had left the air conditioning on in the car, there was no cold air blowing into the vehicle.
When Barker returned to the car, she found Cheyenne unresponsive. She rushed back into Ladner's home and told him something was wrong with her daughter, following which he began CPR on the toddler and she dialed 911. Authorities received a report of an unresponsive child at 1:52 pm and Cheyenne died at a nearby hospital shortly after she was rushed there for treatment. Her body temperature was found to be 107F.
The temperatures that day are said to have gone up as high as 100F, with officers at the scene stating they found Barker's patrol car with its windows all rolled up and the air conditioner set "halfway between cold and heat."
While Ladner told police that Barker had come to his home to discuss a "work-related incident" and that he had fallen asleep after taking a sleep aid while two other officers talked, both he and the 29-year-old were fired from the Long Beach Police Department for "violating departmental policies."
The Mail reported that it was not the first time that Barker had left Cheyenne alone in the car either. She had been disciplined in April 2015 for leaving her daughter alone in the back of her personal vehicle outside a strip mall in Gulfport, with the Department of Human Services taking temporary custody of the child. She was also suspended for one week without pay by the police department and had her one-year probationary period extended by another 90 days.
Ryan Hyer, Cheyenne's father, said he only learned about the 2015 incident after his daughter's death and that she would still be alive today if Barker had lost custody then, asking why her records had been expunged.
He has filed a lawsuit against the Long Beach Police Department and Mississippi Child Protection Services for the wrongful death of Cheyenne.
Barker was set free after posting a $50,000 bond when she was first arrested in connection to the death, but was detained after her guilty plea until her sentencing hearing on April 1.
Remanding her to custody, Harrison County Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois said, "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."