“Every time I close my eyes, I picture her suffering and then I picture her laying in this coffin.”
A former Mississippi police officer plead guilty to manslaughter this week after confessing to a judge that while her 3-year-old daughter was dying inside an overheated patrol car, she was having sex with her supervisor.
According to a report from the Biloxi Sun Herald, City of Long Beach police officer Cassie Barker – who initially claimed that she had merely fallen asleep while talking to her supervisor Clark Lardner at his home – told Harrison County Circuit Court Judge Larry Bourgeois on Monday that she buckled her daughter Cheyenne into a car seat, turned up her car’s broken A/C, and went into Lardner’s home to engage in sex with him.
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She was inside the house for four hours – she and Lardner fell asleep after their tryst – while her daughter was trapped in the patrol car with an internal temperature that eventually rose to unbearable levels. When she finally returned to the vehicle, her daughter was unresponsive. Officials said Cheyenne’s body temperature reached 107 degrees before her death.
“I don’t know what I could ever do to you that could be worse than what you’ve already experienced … You will forever be entombed in a prison of your own mind,” Bourgeois told Barker.
The judge declined to sentence Barker this week, saying he wanted more time to consider the case. Prosecutors recommended a sentence of 20 years.
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According to the Associated Press, Barker and Lardner were fired shortly after the incident.
The incident wasn’t the first time Barker had left Cheyenne in a car alone. In April 2015, authorities were called after Cheyenne was found inside a car near a Gulfport store.
The girl’s father, Ryan Hyer, is suing the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services and Long Beach Police Department for the wrongful death of Cheyenne, saying he was never notified of the incident near Gulfport.
“Every time I close my eyes, I picture her suffering and then I picture her laying in this coffin,” Hyer told the AP. “I still see her smiling and laughing in my head and I would assume that smile and laughter turned to pain and suffering in that instance.”
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