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Long Beach fires officers involved in child’s death

Long Beach Police Chief deals with tragic death, department morale

Chief Wayne McDowell talks about the death of Cheyenne Hyer, 3, and the two officers involved.
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Chief Wayne McDowell talks about the death of Cheyenne Hyer, 3, and the two officers involved.

The Board of Aldermen on Tuesday fired the two Long Beach police officers who were together while the three-year-old daughter of one of the officers was alone in her patrol car for four hours last week, leading to the child’s death.

In a unanimous decision, the board voted to terminate Cassie Barker and Sgt. Clark Ladner, per Police Chief Wayne McDowell’s recommendation.

Barker’s daughter was found unresponsive in her patrol car Friday afternoon and was later pronounced dead at Hancock Medical Center in Bay St. Louis. At the time, Barker was “visiting” with one of her shift supervisors, Sgt. Clark Ladner, 36, at his home off Standard-Dedeaux Road in Kiln. The child was strapped into a baby seat.

Hancock County Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan said Tuesday the investigation is ongoing and officials will take appropriate action once it’s completed. Investigators are also working to determine if criminal charges will be filed.

Tuesday’s board meeting, which included unrelated discussions of regular city business, lasted more than two hours and drew only a handful of public spectators. The decision on Barker’s employment was the board’s last agenda item, and the meeting quickly adjourned after the vote.

Barker will have 10 days to file an appeal with the Civil Service Commission, Mayor Billy Skellie said after the meeting.

Staff writer Margaret Baker contributed to this report.

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