Cops on Paid Leave After Toddler Dies in Patrol Car

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Two Long Beach police officers have recently been placed on administrative leave after leaving a 3-year-old child in the back of a patrol car for several hours on Friday. Although the mother of the deceased toddler was involved in a prior incident concerning the Department of Human Services (DHS), neither of the officers currently faces criminal charges.

Between noon and 1 p.m. on Friday, officers found 3-year-old Cheyenne Hyer dead inside a patrol car parked outside the residence of off-duty Long Beach Police Officer Clark Ladner in Kiln, Mississippi. Cheyenne’s mother, Officer Cassie Barker, was also off-duty at the time and had left her young daughter in the car for at least four hours while visiting Ladner.

According to Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam, investigators discovered the patrol car’s engine running with the air conditioner turned on, yet Cheyenne appeared to have died from overheating.

“We are looking into some possible previous allegations. It is an active investigation. It hasn’t been determined which way we will go, but it doesn’t look good,” Sheriff Adam told WLOX. “We’ll see which way the evidence takes us.”

Hancock County sheriff’s investigators are reviewing a previous incident involving Barker reportedly fighting DHS over custody of her child. Last year, Barker was also suspended without pay for one week and received a 90-day extension of probation. The details concerning both incidents have not been disclosed to the public.

Pending an investigation into Cheyenne’s needless death, officers Barker and Ladner have been placed on paid administrative leave. Neither of the officers currently faces criminal charges for leaving a toddler in a hot car for roughly four hours.

Cheyenne’s father, Ryan Hyer, blames Barker for their daughter’s death. According to Hyer, he broke up with Barker and had moved back to Florida after Barker reportedly cheated on him with other men.

Upon discovering that Cheyenne had died, Hyer told The Clarion-Ledger, “I lost all feeling. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t breathe. Then I was flat out crying. After that I just was angry, and I went in the backyard and started beating up the shed.”

Although Hancock County Chief Deputy Don Bass does not expect any criminal charges against Ladner, the chief deputy believes that investigators will charge Barker with negligent homicide.

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