Crime

Ex-Long Beach cop wants hearing in daughter’s death, but will it happen?

Former Long Beach police officer Cassie Barker walks into the Hancock County Public Safety Complex with lawyers George Blair, left, and Donald Rafferty on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016.
Former Long Beach police officer Cassie Barker walks into the Hancock County Public Safety Complex with lawyers George Blair, left, and Donald Rafferty on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. amccoy@sunherald.com

Former Long Beach Police Officer Cassie Barker is headed to court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing in the alleged hot-car death of her 3-year-old daughter, but it could be a bust.

Barker’s attorney requested the hearing, set for 10 a.m., but she is not automatically entitled to it because she is already out of jail on bond. Her bond is $50,000.

“We’ll be there,” attorney Donald Rafferty said Monday. “We want one. More than likely, there won’t be one.” Rafferty and attorney George Blair are representing Barker.

Prosecutors could ask that the manslaughter case be presented to a grand jury for possible indictment without any hearing at all.

New evidence in a case is typically released during a preliminary hearing. Barker’s hearing is set before Justice Court Judge Tommy Carver.

Barker, 27, is charged with manslaughter in the Sept. 30 death of her daughter, Cheyenne Hyer. She’s accused of leaving her daughter unattended in the back of her patrol car for nearly five hours before she found the child unresponsive, court records show.

Ryan Hyer, Cheyenne’s father, arrived in Mississippi on Monday afternoon to attend Tuesday’s hearing. He brought with him 200 stickers that say, “Justice for Cheyenne” with a picture of her on them.

Hyer said he doesn’t want people “to forget about Cheyenne.”

Cheyenne was first left alone in her mother’s car, April 6, 2015, outside an AT&T store on U.S. 49 in Gulfport. Cheyenne was 2 years old and had been in the back of her mother’s car for more than a half-hour before Gulfport police pulled her out of the car.

The state Department of Human Services temporarily took custody of Cheyenne, but her mother got her back in two days. Barker was never prosecuted in the case.

“I want justice for my daughter,” he said.

Left alone

Barker had gotten off of work at 6 a.m. Sept. 30 , picked up Cheyenne at her babysitter’s house and stopped by the home of her then-supervisor, Sgt. Clark Ladner.

Barker told authorities she stopped by Ladner’s home to discuss a work-related matter and fell asleep. She found her daughter unresponsive in the back of her patrol car nearly five hours after she first stopped at Ladner’s home.

Though preliminary autopsy results indicated Cheyenne’s death was heat-related, official autopsy results have not been released.

Barker had left her car running with its windows rolled up. The car’s air conditioning, an affidavit says, was set at a maximum level, but the temperature setting was past the cold setting and closer to the hot setting.

Cheyenne’s body temperature was 107 degrees when she got to Hancock County Medical Center in Bay St. Louis, Hancock County Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan said. She was pronounced dead there.

After the Cheyenne’s death, Barker and Ladner were fired.

Long Beach Police Chief Wayne McDowell said fellow officers expressed outrage at their former fellow officers after the investigation began.

Many of the Long Beach police officers spent time with Cheyenne when she visited the police department or joined her mother at community events with fellow officers.

Barker has been out of jail on bond since her Oct. 6 arrest.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45

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