Chief: Long Beach officer traumatized by daughter's death
LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - We have new information about the investigation into the death of a toddler in Hancock County.
Cassie Barker, a Long Beach police officer and mother of Cheyenne Hyer, remains in the hospital. Police Chief Wayne McDowell tells us Barker is dealing with trauma after her daughter's death.
Barker began serving on the Long Beach police force in September 2014. In May 2015, the department cited her for conduct violations, resulting in a week's suspension without pay. The penalty also included tacking an additional 90 days onto her year probationary period.
McDowell said Barker and Officer Clark Ladner remain suspended without pay as the investigation continues into possible violations.
McDowell said Barker got off of her Long Beach patrol shift at 6 a.m. Friday. It appears she then drove over to C.C. Rd. in the Kiln to visit Ladner, leaving Cheyenne in her patrol car for at least four hours as she went inside his home.
"There is a department policy that family members are not allowed in patrol cars, unless the exception is if they're coming or going to or from work to be dropped off at childcare," said McDowell.
McDowell said Ladner has not been in charge of Cheyenne's childcare as Barker worked. He also said Ladner has seen the 3-year-old before.
"Shocked. Devastated. As you can imagine, something that I really can't see any excuse for," said McDowell.
McDowell said the Hancock County Sheriff's Department continues to investigate the possible criminal charges Barker and Ladner may face.
Meanwhile, coast residents expressed their disbelief at how something like this could have happened.
"I think it's awful. I don't understand how you could be an officer alone, leave your child in the car for four hours, visit at a friend's house. What was so wrong with her bringing her child inside with her? I just don't think an upstanding officer should have done something like that," said Heather Gauthe, of Biloxi.
Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said Cheyenne's autopsy results have not been released yet.
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