LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - It was a long walk to jail, but a short stay for Cassie Barker on Thursday.
Escorted by her attorneys, Don Rafferty and George Blair, the former Long Beach police officer turned herself into authorities at the Hancock County Public Safety Complex in connection with the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Cheynne Hyer.
Hyer died on Sept. 30 after being left in Barker's patrol car.
Glenn Grannan, chief investigator with the Hancock County Sheriff Department, says Barker never received preferential treatment because she was an officer. Because she was grieving, Barker was given until the end of the day Thursday to turn herself in, or else she would have been considered a fugitive.
After she was booked, Barker bonded out of jail a little more than an hour later. The $50,000 bond set by Justice Court Judge Tommy Carver wasn't well received by the Hancock County Sheriff's Office.
"There are people in jail for burglary charges on $50,000 bonds," said Sheriff Ricky Adam
Grannan considers Barker a flight risk.
"In a situation like this, you would hope that someone would confer with someone like myself or the sheriff to determine whether or not the defendant is a flight risk or not."
But, Rafferty disagrees.
"We are glad she was able to bond out," Rafferty said. "We understand there are a lot of sides in this case. I can't answer any further other than we are glad we were able to get her bonded out."
While the bond issue is one thing, Grannan says his department is grieving for Cheyenne.
"Who is to say what her life would have been like. She could have been president of the United States, rocket scientist. She could have been going to the moon. Either way, we won't ever know," noted Grannan.
The other officer being investigated in the case, Clark Ladner, will not face charges at this time because he had no knowledge Cheyenne was in the car, according to Glenn Grannan, chief investigator with the Hancock County Sheriff's Department. Ladner was also fired from the Long Beach Police Department on Tuesday.
Barker was reportedly visiting Ladner, who was her supervisor, at his home on CC Rd. in Kiln when she left Cheyenne in her patrol car on Friday, Sept. 30. Barker told investigators the two met up after working a night shift to discuss a work related incident.
Grannan tells us deputies got a call about an unresponsive child at 1:52 p.m. When deputies arrived, firefighters were attempting CPR on Cheyenne.
Barker told investigators she left Cheyenne in her car seat in the patrol car around 9 a.m. Ladner reportedly took a sleep aid, and he and Barker fell asleep.
When Barker woke up, according to Grannan, she found Cheyenne unresponsive in her car seat.
Investigators noted all the windows in her squad car were rolled up, and a large blanket sat next to the child's car seat on the rear passenger side. Deputies noticed the air conditioner halfway between cold and hot. It was cool that morning.
Cheyenne was later pronounced dead at Hancock Medical Center.