In 2016, 3-year-old Cheyenne Hyer died after she was left in a hot car while her mother had sex with her supervisor

By Robyn Merrett
April 02, 2019 11:42 PM
Advertisement
Facebook

Former Mississippi cop Cassie Barker will spend the next 20 years in prison after leaving her baby daughter to die inside a hot car while she had sex with her supervisor at his house.

Barker, 29, was sentenced on Monday, CBS affiliate WLOX and the Biloxi Sun Herald reported. She pleaded guilty to culpable negligence manslaughter earlier this month.

The former Long Beach officer accepted the plea agreement to a lesser charge after initially being indicted for second-degree murder, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported.

At her sentencing hearing, Barker broke down while offering up an apology to her dead daughter, Cheyenne Hyer.

“I want to say that the only person I owe an apology to was my daughter because no one else was in her life but me,” Barker said, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported.

Barker also took aim at Cheyenne’s father Ryan Hyer, who has publicly expressed his devastation over his daughter’s tragic death.

“The last time I spoke to him was in July (2016),” Barker said, the Sun Herald reported. “He doesn’t even know what her favorite toys are.”

The child died on Sept. 30, 2016, after Barker went to the home of her supervisor, Clark Ladner, to talk to him at the end of her shift and ended up having sex with him, WLOX reported.

She left the car running with the air conditioner on to combat the 100-degree temperature, but the vent wasn’t blowing cold air, CBS News reported.

Cassie Barker
Amanda McCoy/The Sun Herald via AP

She fell asleep in Ladner’s home and left her daughter strapped in her car seat for four hours in the sweltering heat.

The child was unresponsive when Barker finally returned to her car. The girl was rushed to a nearby hospital, where officials say her body temperature had topped 107 degrees, CBS News reported.

Barker had left the child unattended in a car on a previous occasion, authorities said, CBS News reported. Barker had left the child in her car when she went into a store, prompting a passerby to call Gulfport police, the Sun Herald reported.

“I don’t know what I could ever do to you that could be worse than what you’ve already experienced,” Harrison County Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois told her in court, WLOX reported. “You will forever be entombed in a prison of your own mind.”

Barker and Ladner were fired after the child’s death, the Sun Herald reported.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Cheyenne’s father says he still cannot believe his daughter is dead.

“As a parent, you are supposed to protect your child, and Cheyenne is gone because her mother didn’t protect her, not once but twice,” Hyer said. “May God have mercy on her soul.”

Hyer also spoke about his daughter following Barker’s sentencing.

“When it was time to view her fragile body, I kept telling myself to be strong,” Hyer said, the Sun Herald reported.

Cassie Barker
Hancock Co. Sheriff

“However, I broke when I saw my beautiful, sweet, funny and innocent angel laying in that casket. I just wanted to pick her up and hold her and hold her and tell her, ‘Everything was going to be OK, Daddy has you.'”

“I have blamed myself for every what if, should have and could have. My life has been a complete hell without Cheyenne. This will never get easier.”

Prior to her sentencing, it was revealed that Barker is expecting a second child, the Sun Herald first reported exclusively.

RELATED: 3-Year-Old Dies After Allegedly Being Left in Hot Bus After Daycare Field Trip

Her attorney, Damian Holcomb, told the outlet she plans to put the baby up for adoption after she gives birth, which he also confirmed to PEOPLE.

“We were told there are a million people who have babies while they are in prison,” he told the Sun Herald. “The way it works is once you are medically cleared you go back to whatever prison you are supposed to go back to.”

While Barker “has accepted responsibility” for her daughter’s death, Holcomb tells PEOPLE, “she hasn’t been the same since this happened. It’s a very sad case. Her life will never be the same again.”

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.