Former officer’s bond, set over phone, upsets Hancock sheriff

The former Long Beach police officer who left her daughter in a patrol car for four hours while she was “visiting” with her shift supervisor turned herself in to authorities Thursday on a manslaughter charge.

Cassie Barker turned herself in at the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office about 3 p.m., accompanied by attorneys.

Her bond was set at $50,000.

Authorities had issued a warrant for Barker on Thursday on a manslaughter charge. Her daughter, 3-year-old Cheyenne Hyer, was found dead in Barker’s patrol car Friday afternoon at a residence on CC Road off Standard-Dedeaux Road in Kiln.

The home was that of Long Beach officer Clark Ladner. Barker and Ladner were fired Tuesday night.

Hancock County Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan questioned why Justice Court Judge Tommy Carver granted Barker such a low bond.

“Generally, in a situation like this, you would hope someone would confer with someone like myself or the sheriff to determine whether the defendant is a flight risk or not,” Grannan said. “I just have concerns that she would be a flight risk.”

He said the investigation has been hard on all of the deputies involved.

“You are forced to work cases where things have taken place where children are the victim and it’s terrible to have children as a victim,” he said. “Fortunately, it’s very seldom a child meets their demise. We have a dead 3-year-old. Who’s to say what her life would have been like? You know, she could have been president of the United States or a rocket scientist or gone to the moon. Either way, we won’t ever know.”

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Sheriff Ricky Adam was equally upset with the low bond.

“I understand that bonds are not a punishment, but we never had an opportunity to talk to the judge to express our feelings that she is a fight risk,” he said.

He said the judge set the bond over the phone after speaking with Barker’s attorney. She simply went through the booking process and was released within an hour.

Barker did not have to go through an initial court appearance.

“It just smells, and it puts us in a bad light,” Adam said. “Because she’s an officer, we’ll get the blame for that. I’m a little aggravated.”

Usually, he said, sheriff’s officials have an opportunity to express their concerns during the court appearance, but there wasn’t one for Barker on Thursday.

“I am completely dumbfounded by this. It sounds like favoritism to me,” said Ryan Hyer, the child’s father.

Barker refused to comment as she was escorted by her attorneys, Donald Rafferty and George Blair, into the Sheriff’s Office for booking.

“We look forward to our day in court,” Rafferty said, adding he couldn’t talk further about the case. He would not say anything about Barker’s condition or where she plans to stay after her release.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45

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