JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Officials expect a former Mississippi police officer to turn herself in on a manslaughter charge after her child died Friday when left for four hours in a patrol car.
Hancock County Sheriff’s Investigator Glenn Grannan said Thursday that his department has issued the warrant for Cassie Barker.
Grannan said Barker is expected to turn herself in Thursday afternoon, but isn’t expected to appear in court until later. Grannan said he doesn’t know the name of Barker’s lawyer.
Barker’s 3-year-old daughter was found unresponsive in her Long Beach patrol car and pronounced dead at a hospital Friday. While officials have spelled the name of the girl as Cheyenn Hyer, her father spells it as Cheyenne Hyer.
Officials quote Barker as saying she fell asleep while visiting another Long Beach officer, Sgt. Clark Ladner, at his house in Kiln. Barker left Hyer strapped in a child seat in the running patrol car. Barker was hospitalized after the child’s death, with officials saying she was in shock. However, Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam told the Sun Herald she has since been released.
“If she doesn’t turn herself in today, I plan to charge anybody that is helping her,” Adam told the newspaper Thursday morning.
Grannan said Wednesday that investigators have learned that Barker left her daughter alone in a car at least once before, in nearby Gulfport in April 2015. Police responded and child welfare officials took temporary custody of the girl at the time.
Barker and Ladner were both fired Tuesday by the Long Beach Board of Aldermen for violating department policies. Bass said that officials don’t now plan to charge Ladner, who has told officials he didn’t know the girl was in the car. The Sun Herald reported he had taken a sleep aid and also fell asleep.
Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said Wednesday that the state crime lab in Pearl has yet to complete an autopsy or determine what caused Hyer’s death. Officials suspect she died of overexposure to heat.